Type your tag names separated by a space and hit enter


Constipation is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

To view the entire topic, please or purchase a subscription.

Emergency Central is a collection of disease, drug, and test information including 5-Minute Emergency Medicine Consult, Davis’s Drug, McGraw-Hill Medical’s Diagnosaurus®, Pocket Guide to Diagnostic Tests, and MEDLINE Journals created for emergency medicine professionals. Explore these free sample topics:

Emergency Central

-- The first section of this topic is shown below --



Rome Criteria for the diagnosis of constipation requires 2 or more of the following for at least 3 mo:
  • Straining >25% of the time
  • Hard stools >25% of the time
  • Incomplete evacuation >25% of the time
  • 2 or fewer bowel movements per wk

Pediatric Considerations
  • 3% of pediatric outpatient visits are because of defecation disorders.
  • Children with cerebral palsy often develop functional constipation.
  • Can be classified into subgroups:
    • Constipation with anatomical origins (anal stenosis/strictures, ectopic anus, imperforate anus, sacrococcygeal teratomas)
    • Colonic neuromuscular disease (Hirschsprung disease)
    • Defecation disorders (functional constipation and nonretentive fecal soiling)
    • Function fecal retention
  • Most common cause of fecal retention and soiling in children is functional fecal retention:
    • Caused by fears associated with defecation
    • Associated with irritability, abdominal cramps, decreased appetite, early satiety


  • Metabolic and endocrine:
    • Diabetes
    • Uremia
    • Porphyria
    • Hypothyroidism
    • Hypercalcemia
    • Pheochromocytoma
    • Panhypopituitarism
    • Pregnancy
  • Functional and idiopathic:
    • Colonic irritable bowel syndrome
    • Diverticular disease
    • Colonic inertia
    • Megacolon/megarectum
    • Pelvic intussusception
    • Nonrelaxing puborectalis
    • Rectocele/sigmoidocele
    • Posthysterectomy syndrome
    • Descending perineum
  • Pharmacologic:
    • Analgesics
    • Anesthetics
    • Antacids
    • Anticholinergics
    • Anticonvulsants
    • Antidepressants
    • Antihypertensives
    • Calcium channel blockers
    • Diuretics
    • Ferrous compounds
    • Laxative abuse
    • MAOIs
    • Opiates
    • Paralytic agents
    • Parasympatholytics
    • Phenothiazines
    • Psychotropics
  • Neurologic:
    • Central Parkinson disease
    • Multiple sclerosis
    • Cerebrovascular accidents
    • Spinal cord lesions/injury
    • Peripheral Hirschsprung disease
    • Chagas disease
    • Neurofibromatosis
    • Autonomic neuropathy
  • Mechanical obstruction:
    • Neoplasm
    • Stricture
    • Hernia
    • Volvulus

-- To view the remaining sections of this topic, please or purchase a subscription --


Rosen, Peter, et al., editors. "Constipation." 5-Minute Emergency Consult, 5th ed., Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2016. Emergency Central, emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307013/all/Constipation.
Constipation. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, et al, eds. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307013/all/Constipation. Accessed April 23, 2019.
Constipation. (2016). In Rosen, P., Shayne, P., Barkin, A. Z., Wolfe, R. E., Hayden, S. R., Barkin, R. M., & Schaider, J. J. (Eds.), 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Available from https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307013/all/Constipation
Constipation [Internet]. In: Rosen P, Shayne P, Barkin AZ, Wolfe RE, Hayden SR, Barkin RM, Schaider JJ, editors. 5-Minute Emergency Consult. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2016. [cited 2019 April 23]. Available from: https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307013/all/Constipation.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - ELEC T1 - Constipation ID - 307013 ED - Rosen,Peter, ED - Shayne,Philip, ED - Barkin,Adam Z, ED - Wolfe,Richard E, ED - Hayden,Stephen R, ED - Barkin,Roger M, ED - Schaider,Jeffrey J, BT - 5-Minute Emergency Consult UR - https://emergency.unboundmedicine.com/emergency/view/5-Minute_Emergency_Consult/307013/all/Constipation PB - Lippincott Williams & Wilkins ET - 5 DB - Emergency Central DP - Unbound Medicine ER -