This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Chronic constipation in adults

Written by: | Published:

Constipation means widely different things to different people and it can be argued that the term 'constipation' per se is unhelpful. Health professionals generally recognise constipation as infrequent episodes of defaecation, whereas patients more readily identify with straining, gas, hard consistency of stool, and abdominal pain.1 There is a wide normal range of defaecatory frequency, ranging from three bowel movements per day to three bowel movements per week in conjunction with a considerable variation in the shades of stool observed.2

Rome consensus
The Rome multinational consensus has sought to establish standardised definitions for the functional gastrointestinal disorders based on symptom and temporal patterns, including chronic constipation (CC).

The Rome consensus, now in its third iteration, defines CC as having two or more of the following features, for the last three months, in one-quarter of defaecations: straining, lumpy or hard stool, the sensation of incomplete evacuation, the sensation of anorectal blockage, manual manoeuvres needed, less than three bowel movements per week, and symptom onset more than six months prior to diagnosis. Such a rigid definition has a limited role in routine clinical practice, but it has improved homogeneity within clinical trials.

Please login or register to read the rest of the article and to have access to downloads and comments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Read a free issue from Practice Nursing

Register to read a free issue from our sister publication, Practice Nursing.

Including articles on asthma, diabetes and more. Read your copy.


Sign up to the newsletter


Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.


Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.


Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team


Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.