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Update Module 1602: Constipation

Update Module 1602: Constipation

Why pharmacists must take the lead in resolving this common, embarrassing condition


60-second summary

Why read this article?


Constipation is a very common condition and can be due to medication or underlying disease, but it is often difficult to find a definite cause. This Update covers assessment, treatment options and preventative measures.


Why is it important to treat constipation?


Often constipation resolves with some simple lifestyle changes, but chronic or severe cases can lead to complications such as haemorrhoids, faecal impaction, incontinence and rectal problems.


What are the main treatment options?


If lifestyle changes have not resolved symptoms, an oral bulk-forming laxative may be tried, followed by an oral osmotic agent and then an oral stimulant laxative. Children should not be given bulking agents.


What red flag symptoms should I be aware of?


Patients

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