Report : The Burden of Constipation in our Ageing population – Working Towards Better Solution


Dear Dietitian,

We are delighted to inform you that The Burden of Constipation in our Ageing population – Working Towards Better Solution is published today on the ILC-UK and ILC Global Alliance websites and is now available at: and

Please find below the following materials:

Full report

Executive summary

Press release


Developed by a multi-disciplinary, pan-European group of representatives in collaboration with the International Longevity Centre-UK (ILC-UK) and Norgine, this report reveals, for the first time, the true extent of the impact of constipation in the ageing population across Europe, both in terms of quality of life and financial burden.

Aims of the report

The report aims to:

• Improve knowledge and understanding about constipation

• Highlight the impact of constipation on those affected in terms of pain, quality of life and emotional well-being

• Highlight the impact of untreated or under-treated constipation on healthcare resources

• Review and share existing guidance and guidelines, which support the diagnosis and management of constipation and highlight where gaps exist

• Develop practical recommendations on how constipation can be better diagnosed and managed in people over the age of 65

• Encourage information exchange across all relevant stakeholders supporting the health of this vulnerable section of the population.

Key findings

• Constipation can have a significant impact on physical and mental quality of life – this impact is comparable to that of more recognised conditions such as diabetes, osteo-arthritis or osteoporosis1

• Constipation can exacerbate symptoms in patients with mental health conditions, such as dementia2

• If untreated, constipation can have serious medical consequences, such as faecal impaction, a complication that may require admission to hospital3

• Constipation already places a significant burden on healthcare systems4-6 and this burden is set to rise as the population ages – by 2060, 29.5% of the population in the European Union will be aged 65 years or older7

• There is a lack of evidence-based guidance on the management of constipation in older adults across Europe. This is having a direct impact on the ability to manage patients effectively.


The report highlights six key priorities and outlines some practical recommendations for achieving these goals. These include: developing an internationally-agreed definition of constipation; encouraging improved education and training around constipation; and encouraging greater open discussion around the topic of constipation.

If you have any questions at any stage, you may contact Mrs Jessica Pacey  at


The Burden of Constipation in our Ageing population – Working Towards Better Solutions report has been commissioned and funded by Norgine.


1. Belsey J, Greenfield S, Candy D et al. ‘Systematic review: impact of constipation on quality of life in adults and children’, Aliment Pharmacol Ther, 2010, vol. 31, pp. 938-49.

2. Alzheimer Scotland, Information Sheet IS41, retrieved 19 August 2013,

3. Gallagher P and O’Mahoney D. ‘Constipation in old age’, Best Practice & Research Clinical Gastroenterology, 2009, vol. 23, pp. 875-87.

4. Norton C, ‘Constipation in older patients’, Brit J Nurs, 2006, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 188-92.

5. Addison R, Davies C, Haslam D et al. ‘A national audit of chronic constipation in the community’, Nursing Times, 2003, vol. 99, no. 11, pp. 34-35.

6. American Gastroenterological Association, ‘Technical Review on Constipation’, Gastroenterology, 2013, vol. 114, pp. 218-238.

7. EUROSTAT European Commission, Population structure and ageing, 2012, retrieved 19 August 2013,