Pregnancy and Postpartum Bowel Changes: Constipation and Fecal Incontinence

Shin GH1, Toto EL1, Schey R1. Am J Gastroenterol. 2015 Mar 24. doi: 10.1038/ajg.2015.76. [Epub ahead of print]
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1Section of Gastroenterology, Department of Medicine, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


Pregnancy and the postpartum period are often associated with many gastrointestinal complaints, including nausea, vomiting, and heartburn; however, the most troublesome complaints in some women are defecatory disorders such as constipation and fecal incontinence, especially postpartum. These disorders are often multifactorial in etiology, and many studies have looked to see what risk factors lead to these complications. This review discusses the current knowledge of pelvic floor and anorectal physiology, especially during pregnancy, and reviews the current literature on causes and treatments of postpartum bowel symptoms of constipation and fecal incontinence.

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