BACKGROUND: Constipation is a painful and serious condition that patients often find difficult to talk about. It is usually treated with laxatives alone.
AIM: To determine whether abdominal massage is an effective treatment for constipation. METHOD Of 60 people with constipation, half received 15 minutes of abdominal and hand massage a day, five days a week, for eight weeks, as well as prescribed laxatives. The rest received prescribed laxatives only. Interviews with participants were also conducted.
RESULTS: Abdominal massage used with laxatives reduced abdominal pain, increased bowel movements and improved quality of life compared with laxative use alone. Patients reported positive experiences of abdominal massage but it did not reduce their laxative use.
CONCLUSION: Abdominal massage was seen as a pleasant treatment that can be offered as an option in constipation management.
Pak J Biol Sci. 2010 Oct 15;13(20):1006-10. Lämås K. Department of Nursing, Umeå University, Sweden.