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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 25, Suppl B, Pages 7B-10B

What is Chronic Constipation? Definition and Diagnosis

James R Gray

Division of Gastroenterology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Received 8 April 2011; Accepted 10 June 2011

Copyright © 2011 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although chronic constipation is a common complaint, there are no ideal biological markers for its diagnosis. Diagnosis rests on individual patient perception or clinical criteria developed by expert consensus. Investigation options are multiple but often not necessary. When selected, investigations are directed at confirming the absence of a primary underlying disease, differentiating or defining an alteration in colonic motility or identifying an anorectal evacuation disorder.