Constipation| Meds, Diet And Other Contributors

Etiology

  • Immobility
  • Dementia
  • Meds: narcotics, anti-cholinergics, many others that affect motility, stool consistency
  • Poor intake of liquids, fiber

Risk Factors

  • Older age is associated with most of the above issues

Symptoms

  • Need to obtain accurate history of onset, frequency BMs, stool consistency, diet, activity level, liquid intake
  • Constipation is often chronic
  • Assess for temporal connection between constipation and medication (if related), immobility (if related), cognitive decline (if related), etc.
  • Assess for any symptoms that suggest another underlying process (e.g. endocrinopathy, colonic structural disorder--> cancer, etc.)

Physical Exam Findings

  • Assess for other contributing processes: neurological disease, cognitive impairment, peri-rectal disease, stool impaction, mechanical obstruction, etc.

Tests