An interview study of the experiences of middle-aged women living with constipation

Kristina Lämås, Eva Anundsson, Ann-Christine Stare, Catrine Jacobsson


Introduction: Constipation is relatively common, especially among women, but little is known about the experience of livingwith constipation. Aim: To explore the experiences of middle-aged women living with constipation. Design: A qualitative,descriptive design.

Method: Six women in middle age (50-64 years) with constipation were interviewed in 2005-2007 about their experiences ofliving with constipation. The interviews were transcribed and the data were analyzed with qualitative content analysis.

Result: The women described being constipated as being alone in an excruciating condition where life alternated betweenfeeling tormented and feeling released, and this condition evoked feelings of stress and anxiety. Difficulties in discussingconstipation and a lack of support meant that they were alone in their struggle and they felt humiliated when seeking healthcareservices. Life was seen as an endless struggle between being mastered by the bowel and mastering the bowel.

Conclusion: Even though data has been collected more than five years ago, the experiences described by the women are deemedto be highly valid for today. It is essential that fundamental needs like elimination are satisfied, but constipation problems seemsto be neglected in the healthcare system. It is important, therefore, that patients’ complaints are taken seriously.


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Clinical Nursing Studies
ISSN 2324-7940(Print)   ISSN 2324-7959(Online)

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