- Constipation is a common symptom that may be primary (idiopathic or functional) or associated with a number of disorders or medications. Although most constipation is self-managed by patients, 22% seek health care, mostly to primary care physicians (>50%) and gastroenterologists (14%), resulting in large expenditures for diagnostic testing and treatments. There is strong evidence that stimulant and osmotic laxatives, intestinal secretagogues, and peripherally restricted μ-opiate antagonists are effective and safe; the lattermost drugs are a major advance for managing opioid-induced constipation.
- Although abdominal pain is a symptom of several structural gastrointestinal disorders (eg, peptic ulcer disease), this comprehensive review will focus on the 4 most common nonstructural, or functional, disorders associated with abdominal pain: functional dyspepsia, constipation-predominant and diarrhea-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, and functional abdominal pain syndrome. Together, these conditions affect approximately 1 in 4 people in the United States. They are associated with comorbid conditions (eg, fibromyalgia and depression), impaired quality of life, and increased health care utilization.