Constipation of anorectal outlet obstruction: Pathophysiology, evaluation and management

Tzaneio General Hospital of Piraeus, Le Pirée, Attica, Greece
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Impact Factor: 3.63). 05/2006; 21(4):638-46. DOI: 10.1111/j.1440-1746.2006.04333.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Constipation is a subjective symptom of various pathological conditions. Incidence of constipation fluctuates from 2 to 30% in the general population. Approximately 50% of constipated patients referred to tertiary care centers have obstructed defecation constipation. Constipation of obstructed defecation may be due to mechanical causes or functional disorders of the anorectal region. Mechanical causes are related to morphological abnormalities of the anorectum (megarectum, rectal prolapse, rectocele, enterocele, neoplasms, stenosis). Functional disorders are associated with neurological disorders and dysfunction of the pelvic floor muscles or anorectal muscles (anismus, descending perineum syndrome, Hirschsprung's disease). However, this type of constipation should be differentiated by colonic slow transit constipation which, if coexists, should be managed to a second time. Assessment of patients with severe constipation includes a good history, physical examination and specialized investigations (colonic transit time, anorectal manometry, rectal balloon expulsion test, defecography, electromyography), which contribute to the diagnosis and the differential diagnosis of the cause of the obstructed defecation. Thereby, constipated patients can be given appropriate treatment for their problem, which may be conservative (bulk agents, high-fiber diet or laxatives), biofeedback training or surgery.

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    ABSTRACT: The Bristol Stool Chart (BSC) allows patients to identify their stool form using seven different images with accompanying written descriptors. Stool form was found to correlate better than stool frequency with whole-gut transit as measured by a radio-opaque marker study. This score is widely used in order to verify the presence of a constipation and to evaluate the therapeutic impact of various treatments. Goal of the study In our clinical practice, we was strongly surprised by the facility and the great precision of the patients to report their stool form, meaning that they usually and daily verify these stools. We wanted to precise the goals of a such attitude. Material and methods Two questionnaires were proposed to healthy and voluntary subjects. Q1 was supposedly presented in order to verify the sensibility of a French version of BSC in a healthy population. Thus, Q1 precised the difficulties or not to understand pictures and written descriptors, asked about exhaustive analysis by means of BSC of stool form and bowel condition. All subjects with history of ano-rectal disorders or specific treatment for bowel dysfunction were excluded. After Q1 fulfilled, Q2 was proposed to the subjects. Q2 was designed to precise the goals of the patient when he look at his stool and the frequency of such an investigation. Finally a specific question concerning the subject opinion about this behavior in terms of bothersome, shame, or metaphysic interrogation. Results Eighty-five healthy subjects were recruited (42 female and 43 male). Mean age was 37.2 (sd = 15.7). Mean score of BCS was 2.07 (sd =1.05) (2.07 for female and 1.81 for male, P = 0.22). Number of categories of stool form was only 1 in 40%, 2 categories in 31%, 3 in 19%, 4 in 10%. Presence of a constipation defined by category 1 or 2 was found in 17% (23% in F, 12% in M, P = 0.075). Precision of BSC was noted as excellent in 68%, moderated in 18% and poor in 14%. BSC was considered as easy to use in 75%. Frequency of inspection of feces was systematic for 37%, 1/2 in 20%, 1/3 in 13%, 1 to 4 per month in 30%. The goal of inspection was “routine” in 54%, and devoted to track down any pathological condition (“self examination”) in 46%. Eighty percent of the subjects considered having no shame or specific reticence and only 17% of them, had some interrogations concerning the real rational of such an inspection. Conclusion BSC is a useful tool widely used in routine practice, helping to the diagnosis of constipation and the control of the different therapeutic strategies. There is no psychological barriers or metaphysics inconveniences for its use. But it seems legitimate to understand the hidden reasons of such a behavior with unconscious purposes reflecting the intimal nature of the humans. Level of evidence 3.
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    ABSTRACT: AIM: To evaluate the efficacy of botulinum toxin type A injection to the puborectalis and external sphincter muscle in the treatment of patients with anismus unresponsive to simple biofeedback training. METHODS: This retrospective study included 31 patients suffering from anismus who were unresponsive to simple biofeedback training. Diagnosis was made by anorectal manometry, balloon expulsion test, surface electromyography of the pelvic floor muscle, and defecography. Patients were given botulinum toxin type A (BTX-A) injection and pelvic floor biofeedback training. Follow-up was conducted before the paper was written. Improvement was evaluated using the chronic constipation scoring system. RESULTS: BTX-A injection combined with pelvic floor biofeedback training achieved success in 24 patients, with 23 maintaining persistent satisfaction during a mean period of 8.4 mo. CONCLUSION: BTX-A injection combined with pelvic floor biofeedback training seems to be successful for intractable anismus.
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