Chapter

Geriatric Gastroenterology

pp 337-350

Date:

Constipation

  • T. S. DharmarajanAffiliated withNew York Medical College
  • , T. S. DharmarajanAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Montefiore Medical Center (North Division)
  • , T. S. DharmarajanAffiliated withDivision of Geriatrics, Montefiore Medical Center (North Division)
  • , T. S. DharmarajanAffiliated withGeriatric Medicine Fellowship Program, Montefiore Medical Center (North Division)
  • , David WidjajaAffiliated withDepartment of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center, Albert Einstein College of Medicine Email author 
  • , C. S. PitchumoniAffiliated withRobert Wood Johnson School of Medicine, Drexel University School of Medicine
  • , C. S. PitchumoniAffiliated withNew York Medical College
  • , C. S. PitchumoniAffiliated withGastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Saint Peter’s University Hospital

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Abstract

Constipation is a common syndrome in older individuals. Constipation is defined as a frequency of defecation fewer than three times per week in association with additional manifestations as defined in the Rome criteria. Deviations from baseline habits deserve attention and perhaps evaluation. Motility and structural abnormalities are two important factors contributing to pathogenesis of constipation. Colonic motor dysfunction is associated with several factors, predominantly dietary, medication, and disease. A thorough medical history helps identify etiology and helps management of constipation. More specialized tests of colonic transit or pelvic floor function are considered in older adults in selected cases and in the settings where the findings influence management decisions. Management strategy includes life style modification, use of fiber, pharmacologic measures, and rarely miscellaneous modalities.