Chronic Functional Constipation

Chronic Functional Constipation

Introduction for NANDA Nursing Diagnosis: Chronic Functional Constipation

NANDA nursing diagnosis is an evidence-based and standardized classification of medical diagnoses related to patient health. It was developed to standardize, define and categorize applicable nursing diagnoses so that they can be shared among nurses and other health care professionals during the execution of treatment and care planning.

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis Definition

NANDA nursing diagnosis definition for “Chronic Functional Constipation” is:

  • A disorder characterized by infrequent bowel movements, hard stool, abdominal bloating and discomfort.

Defining Characteristics


  • Difficulty in evacuation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anorexia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Passage of stools several times per week
  • Difficulty passing stools
  • Report of flexing legs while passing stools.


  • Consistently infrequent bowel movements
  • Small amount of stool
  • Hard stool consistency
  • Abdominal distention
  • Abdominal palpation tenderness
  • Lower-extremity edema
  • Stool impaction
  • Colic-like sensations

Related Factors

  • Insufficient fiber intake
  • Impaired mobility
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Food intolerance
  • Use of opiate medications
  • Drug side effects or allergic reactions
  • Abnormal stool consistency
  • Dehydration
  • Previous abdominal surgery
  • Inadequate response to laxative administration

Risk Population

Those at risk for chronic functional constipation include:

  • Individuals with a sedentary lifestyle
  • Elderly people
  • Those on certain prescription medications
  • People on low-fiber diets

Associated Problems

The associated problems associated with chronic functional constipation include:

  • Volvulus
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Malnutrition
  • Lack of hydration
  • Impaired ease of evacuation

Suggestions of Use

The following strategies may be used to help treat chronic functional constipation:

  • Develop a plan of regular meals and physical activity.
  • Increase daily intake of dietary fiber (25-30 grams per day).
  • Stay adequately hydrated (at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids per day).
  • Alter the diet and introduce foods that are gentle laxatives such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
  • Avoid the administration of iron supplements if possible.
  • Decrease the regular use of over the counter laxatives.
  • Consider incorporating lower-impact forms of physical exercise into the daily routine.

Suggested Alternative NANDA Diagnoses

Other NANDA diagnoses which may be applicable to patients with chronic functional constipation are:

  • Impaired Defecation
  • Constipation Induced Urinary Retention
  • Health Maintenance, Alteration in

Usage Tips

  • Family focused treatments and interventions help promote a stronger understanding of the condition.
  • Regularity re-enforcement techniques like intermittent rewards have been shown to encourage regularity.
  • Medications like olcer events, stool softeners, and laxatives should be used cautiously and only after full evaluation of the patient.

NOC Results

The following NOC results prove useful in measuring outcomes associated with chronic functional constipation:

  • Bowel Elimination – Evaluates the patient’s ability for successful bowel elimination.
  • Activity Intolerance – Measures how well the patient is able to tolerate physical activity.
  • Pain Management – Evaluates the patient’s ability to manage abdominal and rectal pains associated with chronic functional constipation.
  • Nutrition (Less Than Body Requirements) – Measures any nutrition deficiency present due to constipation.

NIC Interventions

  • Bowel Training – Educate patient and family on the importance of adhering to an effective bowel training program.
  • Stool Softeners Therapy – Encourage patient to take recommended stool softener drugs.
  • Exercise – Promote moderate exercise activities to help patient improve mobility and reduce incidents of constipation.
  • Nutrition Education – Provide pertinent information on dietary modifications that are beneficial to promoting regularity.

Conclusion and FAQ

Chronic functional constipation is a common gastrointestinal disorder that can be managed through careful implementation of treatment strategies. In the most severe cases, additional interventions such as the administration of medications may be necessary. With the help of NANDA nursing diagnosis definition and other aids such as the NOC and NIC interventions, nurses can efficiently diagnose and manage this condition with more clarity.

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