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Constipation in ulcerative colitis: pathophysiology and practical management


Clinical experience suggests that there is a cohort of patients with refractory colitis who do have faecal stasis that contributes to symptoms. The underlying physiology is poorly understood, partly because until recently the technology to examine segmental colonic motility has not existed. Patients are given little information on how proximal faecal stasis can complicate colitis. Treatment guidelines are scanty and many patients are offered little apart from laxatives and advice on increasing fibre intake, which often makes symptoms worse. This article aims to review the history, pathology and management, and create impetus for future research on this underappreciated condition.

  • constipation
  • ulcerative colitis
  • inflammatory bowel disease

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