Functional constipation

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Functional constipation, known as chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC), is constipation that does not have a physical (anatomical) or physiological (hormonal or other body chemistry) cause. It may have a neurological, psychological or psychosomatic cause. A person with functional constipation may be healthy, yet has difficulty defecating.

Symptoms and diagnosis[edit]

Chronic idiopathic Constipation is similar to constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome (IBS-C), however people with CIC do not have other symptoms of IBS, such as abdominal pain.[1] Diagnosing CIC can be difficult as other syndromes must be ruled out as there is no physiological cause for CIC. Doctors will typically look for other symptoms, such as blood in stool, weight loss, low blood count, or other symptoms.

To be considered functional constipation, symptoms must be present at least a fourth of the time.[1]

Functional constipation, as medically defined by the Rome III criteria,[citation needed] has many causes, including


Children with functional constipation often claim to lack the sensation of the urge to defecate, and may be conditioned to avoid doing so due to a previous painful experience.[2] One retrospective study showed that these children did indeed have the urge to defecate using colonic manometry, and suggested behavioral modification as a treatment for functional constipation.[3]

See also[edit]