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The Burden of Constipation in our Ageing Population

On 12th February 2013 a multi-disciplinary, pan-European group of representatives, identified by the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) and Norgine, met in Brussels to discuss and consider an evidence and policy review of the scale of the problem of functional constipation (not associated with irritable bowel syndrome) among older adults living in care homes and the community. The group also examined the impact of current policies and management approaches on these individuals and our healthcare systems and their work resulted in the development of this report.


The report outlines and summarises the current guidelines and guidance from across the world. Treatment pathways (where available) and existing policy on managing constipation in older adults across Europe, with specific inclusion of guidance and policy for care homes are also included. The main focus is on care planning and the management of constipation as opposed to clinical guidance around use of different types of medication.

The research included in this report clearly highlights how the absence of preventative strategies for constipation has a significant impact on quality of life of older people. It also illustrates the unnecessary ill-health caused through suboptimal management of this condition.

By sharing insights across countries and generating awareness and evidence-based discussion around the issue of chronic functional constipation in older adults, we hope to provide a powerful vehicle to improve the management of this condition and help mobilise key stakeholders into taking action and improving care. A number of recommendations for change are included in the report.

Download the full report (pdf format) 

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