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Revista Española de Enfermedades Digestivas

Print version ISSN 1130-0108


REY, Enrique  and  SOCIEDAD ESPANOLA DE PATOLOGIA DIGESTIVA (SEPD) et al. Management of the clinical issue of constipation with abdominal complaints in adults: a national survey of Primary Care physicians and gastroenterologists. Rev. esp. enferm. dig. [online]. 2016, vol.108, n.6, pp.323-331. ISSN 1130-0108.

Irritable bowel syndrome and functional constipation represent a relevant and common health issue. However, real-world clinical practice includes patients with constipation who may or may not have other abdominal complaints (pain, bloating, abdominal discomfort) with variable frequency. The goal of the present study was to obtain information on the workload entailed by patients with constipation and associated abdominal complaints, predominant clinical behaviors, education needs, and potential daily practice aids both in Primary Care and gastroenterology settings. The clinical behavior of doctors is generally similar at both levels, despite differences in healthcare approach: use of empiric therapies and clinically guided diagnostic tests, with some differences in colonoscopy use (not always directly accessible from Primary Care). Regarding perceptions, general support and osmotic laxatives are most valued by PC doctors, whereas osmotic laxatives, combined laxatives, and linaclotide are most valued by GE specialists. Furthermore, over half of respondents considered differentiating both diagnoses as challenging. Finally, considerable education needs are self-acknowledged at both levels, as is a demand for guidelines and protocols to help in managing this issue in clinical practice. A strength of this study is its providing a joint photograph of the medical approach and the perceptions of constipation with abdominal discomfort from a medical standpoint. Weaknesses include self-declaration (no formal validation) and a response rate potentially biased by professional motivation.

Keywords : Irritable bowel syndrome; Constipation; Abdominal discomfort; Adults; Primary Care; Digestive diseases; National survey.

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