This site is intended for healthcare professionals
Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy
In children, constipation is usually diagnosed based on the history and the examination. If chronic constipation occurs, then more extensive investigation for conditions such as Hirschsprung's disease is warranted.
In elderly patients, the constipation should be treated and then the patient investigated e.g. via sigmoidoscopy and colonoscopy, to exclude carcinoma or diverticular disease. Other tests aimed at excluding endocrine and metabolic abnormalities - hypothyroidism, hypercalcaemia, dehydration - should be initiated. A patient's drug history should be reviewed for a possible aetiological agent.