Chronic Constipation: a Review of Current Literature

Curr Gastroenterol Rep. 2015 Dec;17(12):47. doi: 10.1007/s11894-015-0471-z.


Chronic constipation is a common health condition representing a substantial proportion of primary care visits and referrals to specialist providers. Chronic constipation can have a significant negative effect on health-related quality of life and has been associated with psychological distress in severely affected patients. It has the potential to cause patients to curtail work, school, and social activities. While different pathophysiological mechanisms have been implicated in the development of chronic constipation, in some instances, the causes of chronic constipation are not easily determined. Expenditures for the evaluation and management of chronic constipation represent a significant burden on patients and payers, and it is important for clinicians to have a clear understanding of the different pathophysiological mechanisms associated with constipation, understand the different testing modalities and treatments that are available including their appropriateness and limitations, and tailor that knowledge to the management of individual patients.

Keywords: Chronic constipation; Constipation; Dyssynergic defecation; Management of chronic constipation; Pelvic floor dysfunction; Types of constipation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biofeedback, Psychology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Constipation / etiology*
  • Constipation / physiopathology
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Gastrointestinal Transit / physiology
  • Humans
  • Laxatives / therapeutic use
  • Pelvic Floor / physiopathology
  • Physical Examination / methods


  • Laxatives