Chronic Constipation in the Elderly

Ernest P. Bouras, Eric G. Tangalos

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


Chronic constipation is a common problem in the elderly, with a variety of causes, including pelvic floor dysfunction, medication effects, and numerous age-specific conditions. A stepwise diagnostic and therapeutic approach to patients with chronic constipation based on historical and physical examination features is recommended. Prudent use of fiber supplements and laxative agents may be helpful for many patients. Based on their capabilities, patients with pelvic floor dysfunction should be considered for pelvic floor rehabilitation (biofeedback), although efficacy in the elderly is uncertain. Clinical awareness and focused testing to identify the physiologic abnormalities underlying constipation, while being mindful of situations unique to the elderly, facilitate management, and improve patient outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)463-480
Number of pages18
JournalGastroenterology Clinics of North America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Constipation
  • Defecation disorder
  • Elderly
  • Geriatric
  • Management
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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