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Keywords:

  • biofeedback;
  • constipation;
  • dyssynergic defecation;
  • laxatives

Abstract  Only a relatively small percentage of clinically constipated patients seek medical attention and most can be managed satisfactorily with conservative measures. This review mainly addresses those patients who have refractory or difficult-to-manage functional constipation who are referred to gastrointestinal specialists. Areas of review include insights into pathophysiology, the utility of diagnostic testing and the author's opinions concerning available pharmacologic agents, the role of behavioural therapies and the indications for surgical interventions in this heterogeneous group of patients.