Constipation: evaluation and treatment of colonic and anorectal motility disorders

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2007 Sep;36(3):687-711, x. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2007.07.013.


This article focuses on the colonic and anorectal motility disturbances that are associated with chronic constipation and their management. Functional chronic constipation consists of three overlapping subtypes: slow transit constipation, dyssynergic defecation, and irritable bowel syndrome with constipation. The Rome criteria may serve as a useful guide for making a clinical diagnosis of functional constipation. Today, an evidence-based approach can be used to treat patients with chronic constipation. The availability of specific drugs for the treatment of chronic constipation, such as tegaserod and lubiprostone, has enhanced the therapeutic armamentarium for managing these patients. Randomized controlled trials have also established the efficacy of biofeedback therapy in the treatment of dyssynergic defecation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Constipation* / diagnosis
  • Constipation* / physiopathology
  • Constipation* / therapy
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Digestive System
  • Dietary Fiber / therapeutic use*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine / methods*
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology
  • Humans
  • Laxatives / therapeutic use*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Laxatives