This chapter will guide you through the assessment and management of constipation.

Constipation is a common cause of distress. Prevention is better than waiting until treatment is needed. Symptoms can include anorexia, vomiting, colic, tenesmus, overflow diarrhoea, urinary retention and confusion.


This Guide is intended for use by healthcare professionals and the expectation is that they will use clinical judgement, medical, and nursing knowledge in applying the general principles and recommendations contained within. They are not meant to replace the many available texts on the subject of palliative care.

Some of the management strategies describe the use of drugs outside their licensed indications. They are, however, established and accepted good practice. Please refer to the current BNF for further guidance.

While WMPCPS takes every care to compile accurate information , we cannot guarantee its correctness and completeness and it is subject to change. We do not accept responsibility for any loss, damage or expense resulting from the use of this information.