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Bowel Management: Constipation, Obstruction, Diarrhea, and Ascites 

Bowel Management: Constipation, Obstruction, Diarrhea, and Ascites
Bowel Management: Constipation, Obstruction, Diarrhea, and Ascites

Stefanie N. Mooney

, Purvi Patel

, and Sorin Buga

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date: 16 July 2020

This chapter reviews palliative considerations for bowel management in a patient with advanced disease such as cancer, liver failure, AIDS, or general debility. In particular, it discusses the definition, prevalence, pathophysiology, assessment, and management of gastrointestinal symptoms common in the palliative population, including constipation and diarrhea. It also reviews malignant bowel obstruction and ascites and how these may impact quality of life for patients with life-limiting illness. The discussion of management includes both pharmacologic approaches and supportive care options. This information is designed to help guide nursing assessment and treatment of bowel management, as well as provide useful insight to any clinical provider encountering these conditions.

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