Chronic constipation is a chronic, functional GI disorder characterized by infrequent bowel movements or difficult passage of stools that persists for several weeks or longer and has an unknown cause. Though occasional constipation is very common, some people experience chronic constipation that can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks. Signs and symptoms of chronic constipation can include passing fewer than three stools a week, having lumpy or hard stools and excessive straining to have bowel movements. Constipation may be considered chronic if multiple symptoms are experienced for at least three months.
Many sufferers of chronic constipation are reported to be unsatisfied with current treatment options.
The pathophysiology of chronic constipation is not completely understood, and clinical evidence shows that modulation of bile acids may be a useful therapeutic approach. For example, studies have shown that changes in bile acid concentrations in the colon alter bowel function, that ileal resection results in diarrhea, and that decreasing bile acid concentrations in the colon through the use of the bile acid sequestrant cholestyramine induces constipation.