00011 Constipation

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00011 Constipation

Definition of the NANDA label

Constipation refers to a decrease in the normal frequency of bowel movements, accompanied by difficult or incomplete elimination of excessively hard or dry stools.

Decrease in normal frequency of defecation accompanied by difficult or incomplete passage of stool and/or passage of excessively hard, dry stool.

Defining characteristics

  • Frequency of bowel movements lower than usual.
  • References of excessive efforts to defecate.
  • Existence of hard stools or fecalomas.
  • References of sensation of abdominal or rectal fullness or pressure.
  • Palpable rectal mass.
  • Stool hard and palpable on digital rectal examination.
  • Less than normal amount of stool.
  • Decreased bowel sounds.
  • Flatulence and pain caused by intestinal gas accumulation.
  • Altered appetite.
  • Abdominal, back or head pain.
  • Irritability.
  • Interference with daily activities.
  • Use of laxatives.

Related factors


  • Recent environmental changes.
  • Denial or habitual lack of response to the urge to defecate.
  • Insufficient physical activity.
  • Irregular bowel habits.
  • Problems during defecation (eg, lack of time, improper position, lack of privacy).
  • Weakness of the abdominal muscles.


  • Depression.
  • Emotional stress.
  • Mental confusion.


  • Anticonvulsants, antilipemic agents.
  • Laxative overdose.
  • Calcium carbonate.
  • Antacids containing aluminum.
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opiates.
  • Anticholinergics, diuretics.
  • Iron salts, phenothiazides.
  • Sedatives, sympathomimetics.
  • Bismuth salts, antidepressants.
  • Calcium channel blockers.


  • Abscess or rectal ulcer.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Rectal or anal fissure.
  • Tumors.
  • Megacolon (Hirschusprung’s disease).
  • Electrolyte imbalance.
  • Rectal prolapse.
  • Prostatic enlargement.
  • Neurological impairment.
  • Rectal or anal stenosis, rectocele.
  • Post-surgical obstruction.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Obesity.


  • Bad eating habits.
  • Decreased motility of the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Inadequate oral hygiene or teething.
  • The insufficient supply of fibers.
  • Insufficient intake of fluids.
  • Change in type of food eaten or eating pattern.
  • Dehydration.

Associated condition

  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hirschprung’s disease
  • Inadequate dentition
  • Iron salts
  • Neurological impairment
  • Postsurgical bowel obstruction
  • Pregnancy
  • Prostate enlargement
  • Rectal abscess
  • Rectal anal fissure
  • Rectal anal stricture
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Rectal ulcer
  • Rectocele
  • Tumor


  • Symptom control.
  • Bowel elimination.
  • Hydration.


  • Bowel management.
  • Management of constipation: impaction.
  • The handling of liquids.
  • Fluid administration and management: electrolytes.

This diagnosis will retire from the NANDA-I Taxonomy in the 2021-2023 edition unless additional work is completed to bring it up to a level of evidence 2.1 or higher.

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