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How can nurses aid management of chronic constipation in adults?

  • Comments (2)

Key points

  • Constipation is one of the most common forms of gastrointestinal disorders encountered by nurses
  • It is often trivialised but is a significant condition causing pain and distress and affecting quality of life
  • Chronic constipation is caused by multiple factors and requires an individualised approach
  • Constipation can be an indicator for serious underlying disease
  • There are new treatments available for prolonged intractable constipation

Let’s discuss

  • Describe the causes of constipation and the groups who are most at risk.
  • List the signs and symptoms of constipation.
  • What life style advice would you give a patient who presents with symptoms of constipation?
  • When you would refer a patient for further investigation?
  • Look at the suggested treatment algorithm in this article. How could you use this to explain the management of constipation to a student nurse?

If you sometimes feel uncertain when faced with a patient with constipation and have a question, join our Clinical Chat on constipation on 9 October at 1pm with clinical experts Wendy Ness, colorectal nurse specialist at Croydon University Hospital and Debra Ollerhead, continence lead at NHS Wirral Community Trust.

You can email questions to or tweet @eileenshepherd

You can learn more about constipation by taking our online learning unit: Advances in treatment of constipation.

Participating in NT Clinical Chats can contribute to you CPD. Here is how to get the most out of Clinical Chats:

  • Look at the topic in advance of the chat and plan questions you would like to ask
  • Participate in the chat by posting questions or comments
  • Download the transcript after the chat as evidence of your participation. This will be available here after the webchat
  • Write a reflection on what you have learned and how you could use this information in clinical practice, to store in your portfolio.
  • Comments (2)

Readers' comments (2)

  • Get a piece of paper, and work it out with a pencil.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Red paddys12: you seem to have a sleeping disorder or perhaps your on a night shift , if it's the latter you should be quite aware on policies pertaining to use of "tinternet" whilst on duty. You also seem to be on running through post's giving comment's as you see fit. Most of them are not worth the computer your typing on . give it a rest and get back to your patient's if you have any.

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