perceived constipation

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


1. a change in normal bowel habits with decreased frequency of defecation or passage of hard dry feces.
2. a nursing diagnosis accepted by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, defined as a decrease in frequency of defecation or passage of hard, dry feces.

Although many persons may experience a sense of incomplete evacuation of the colon and become concerned when daily bowel movements do not occur, the frequency of defecation can vary according to individual characteristics such as body build, level of physical activity, dietary habits, and custom. Constipation can be said to exist when a person reports a frequency of bowel elimination that is less than his or her usual pattern or when defecation occurs less than three times a week, stools are hard and well-formed and possibly less than the usual amount, straining at stool occurs regularly, and the person experiences headache, abdominal pain, a feeling of fullness in the abdomen or rectum, and either diminished appetite or nausea. Objective signs of constipation include discovery of a palpable mass in the abdomen and decreased bowel sounds.
Etiology. Constipation can result from a variety of causes. Such habits of daily living as lack of exercise, insufficient intake of water and dietary bulk, and chronic use of laxatives and enemas can contribute to the development of constipation. Other etiologic factors include neurologic, metabolic, and endocrine disorders such as stroke, spinal cord injury, and hypothyroidism; pain on defecation; decreased peristalsis related to aging or cardiopulmonary hypoxia; and the side-effects of some drugs.
Patient Care. Unless there is a demonstrable organic disorder causing constipation, regular bowel elimination is largely a matter of habit. Stress, tension, failure to take the time to defecate when the urge is felt, and insufficient fluid intake can all contribute to the problem. Among the goals of intervention are encouraging regular bowel function by adhering to healthful habits of diet and exercise, and developing an awareness of the need to establish a regular routine of elimination. For some people this may mean a change in lifestyle that entails addition of dietary fiber and regular physical exercise. For others it may be necessary to develop a more rational approach to the problem. Excessive concern over constipation and frequent use of laxatives can be as harmful as deliberately ignoring the need for regular elimination.

For those patients who have constipation related to an organic disease, a bowel training program may be appropriate.
perceived constipation a nursing diagnosis accepted by the North American Nursing Diagnosis Association, defined as the making by an individual of a self-diagnosis of constipation, and abuse of laxatives, enemas, and suppositories to ensure a daily bowel movement.
Miller-Keane Encyclopedia and Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, and Allied Health, Seventh Edition. © 2003 by Saunders, an imprint of Elsevier, Inc. All rights reserved.

perceived constipation

The state in which a person makes a self-diagnosis of constipation and ensures a daily bowel movement through use of laxatives, enemas, and suppositories.
See also: constipation
Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners
Full browser ?