Assessment, diagnosis and management of constipation

Assessment, diagnosis and management of constipation

Amanda Andrews Senior Teaching Fellow, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England
Bernie St Aubyn Senior Lecturer, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To understand the common causes and types of constipation

  • To enhance your awareness of the management interventions available for constipation

  • To count towards revalidation as part of your 35 hours of CPD, or you may wish to write a reflective account (UK readers)

  • To contribute towards your professional development and local registration renewal requirements (non-UK readers)

Constipation is a common, treatable condition that can be experienced by all age groups. This article outlines the different types of constipation and explains how the condition is diagnosed. A comprehensive and person-centred assessment is fundamental to identifying constipation, and should include taking the patient’s clinical history and discussing any lifestyle factors that may be causing or contributing to the condition. This article also details the pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions that nurses can employ in the management of constipation, including providing advice on lifestyle changes and the use of laxatives.

Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11512

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software


Conflict of interest

None declared

Andrews A, St Aubyn B (2020) Assessment, diagnosis and management of constipation. Nursing Standard. doi: 10.7748/ns.2020.e11512

Published online: 10 August 2020

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