Constipation is common in the elderly, although apparently no more so than in the general population. Constipation is not a consequence of normal aging. The definition and causes of constipation are discussed. A common-sense approach to investigation at the primary care level is outlined. Available laxative preparations are reviewed. A step-wise approach to the treatment of chronic constipation includes ensuring adequate fluid intake, maximizing activity and providing adequate bulk. A program of bowel training for use in resistant cases is described. Use of oral laxatives is de-emphasized
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