Constipation: Pathophysiology and Management

Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2015 Jan;31(1):45-9. doi: 10.1097/MOG.0000000000000137.


Purpose of review: Continuing advances in pharmaceutical development are providing an expanding array of treatment approaches for patients with chronic constipation. More comprehensive characterization of pancolonic motility carries the promise of improved understanding of the pathophysiology of this common disorder. Chronic constipation which responds poorly to laxatives may result from the use of drugs such as opioids, or from defecation disorders and advanced colonic dysmotility.

Recent findings: This article highlights improved characterization of pancolonic motility, evidence of efficacy of established and novel drugs for both idiopathic and opioid-induced constipation and a new algorithm for the evaluation of patients with chronic idiopathic constipation who respond inadequately to available laxatives.

Summary: The articles cited in this review inform the reader of new developments in the evaluation and treatment of patients with chronic constipation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Analgesics, Opioid / adverse effects
  • Constipation / chemically induced
  • Constipation / drug therapy*
  • Constipation / physiopathology*
  • Defecation / physiology
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology
  • Humans
  • Laxatives / therapeutic use*


  • Analgesics, Opioid
  • Laxatives