CONSTIPATION is defined as infrequent or absent defecation associated with the retention of faeces within the colon and rectum. Megacolon, a condition in which the colon becomes dilated and hypomotile due to chronic constipation, may be idiopathic or secondary to an underlying cause. The clinician may be faced with the dilemma of whether to treat such cases medically or surgically. Several factors will influence that decision, including identification of an underlying cause, the functional ability of the colon and the response to medical therapy.
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