Constipation can be described in a number of ways but in general it is related to straining, reduced frequency of defecation and/or a sensation of incomplete bowel emptying. The ability of the bowel to empty is related to the effectiveness of colonic transit (movement of contents around the large bowel) and the normal function of the defecation mechanism.
This paper provides an overview of constipation, its classification and management to relieve symptoms. An exploration of pharmacological agents is provided, particularly for those with co-morbidities. Current evidence-based practice underpins the discussion surrounding the prescribing of medicines suitable for adults presenting with constipation.