Symptom experiences of chronically constipated women with pelvic floor disorders.

Elizabeth Fuller, Janet L. Welch, Jane H. Backer, Susan M. Rawl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Chronic constipation is a frequent and bothersome problem in women with pelvic floor disorders, and standard treatment protocols are often ineffective. The purposes of this study were to describe the constipation symptom experience, perceived effectiveness of symptom-management strategies, and the lifestyle limitations associated with constipation symptoms among women with pelvic floor disorders. DESIGN: A cross-sectional descriptive design was used. SETTING: Participants were recruited from a tertiary-level outpatient urogynecology center. SAMPLE: Thirty women with pelvic floor disorders completed a self-administered instrument at the time of their clinic appointment. METHODS: The instrument included questions about the distress, frequency, intensity, and occurrence of constipation symptoms. In addition, the effectiveness of symptom-management strategies used to treat constipation and the lifestyle limitations associated with constipation were assessed. FINDINGS: The symptom experience of chronic constipation in these women included multiple distressing and uncomfortable symptoms that resulted in mild lifestyle limitations. Although self-management strategies were perceived to have limited effectiveness, the most effective strategies used by the women to manage constipation included use of laxatives, using their hand in or near the vagina or rectum to expel stool, and using an enema. CONCLUSIONS: More effective interventions are needed to promote satisfactory symptom management of chronic constipation for women with pelvic floor disorders. Further assessment of outcomes, including comfort and depression, may be warranted. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE: A more thorough assessment of constipation symptoms in this population is recommended. A combination of symptom-management strategies may be needed to relieve the multiple symptoms associated with constipation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-40; quiz 41-42
JournalClinical nurse specialist CNS
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Leadership and Management
  • Assessment and Diagnosis
  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • LPN and LVN

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