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  • Updated 04.13.2022
  • Released 09.25.2007
  • Expires For CME 04.13.2025

Bowel dysfunction in neurologic disorders

Introduction

Overview

Neurogenic bowel dysfunction is common in patients with neurologic conditions. Symptoms mainly include constipation and fecal incontinence. These symptoms significantly impact quality of life and are among the most physically, socially, and emotionally disabling. This article will review the following:

• The neural control of colonic function and defecation

• Bowel dysfunction in selected neurologic diseases

• General considerations and management of constipation and fecal incontinence

Key points

• Bowel dysfunction in neurologic diseases results from disturbance in the complex neural control of colonic function and defecation.

• Bowel dysfunction is common in patients with neurologic diseases and may have considerable impact on quality of life.

• Bowel dysfunction should be recognized in the context of neurologic disease and can be managed with a number of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic approaches.

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