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May 7, 1904


JAMA. 1904;XLII(19):1221-1222. doi:10.1001/jama.1904.02490640031007

Chronic habitual constipation has long been the subject of widely different views so far as its importance as a factor in disease is concerned. On the one hand, we have those who, like Bouchard, Glènard and Feyot, hold it responsible for the gravest symptoms, attributable to autointoxication from resorption of fecal matter; on the other hand, those who, like Osler and Boas, think that autointoxication from this cause is rare, and that the great majority of persons with chronic constipation suffer little inconvenience from this condition. The experience of most practitioners bears out the latter view. Every physician knows of persons in fair health who have infrequent and scanty stools, while cases are on record of apparently healthy individuals who habitually went from two weeks to several months without any evacuations from the bowels. This "primary functional habitual constipation" is almost universally attributed to an abnormality of the nerves of