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May 26, 1900

CHRONIC CONSTIPATION A SYMPTOM RESULTING FROM A DISORDERED STATE OF THE SYMPATHETIC NERVOUS SYSTEM. ITS CAUSES AND CURE.

JAMA. 1900;XXXIV(21):1306-1310. doi:10.1001/jama.1900.24610210012001c

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Abstract

Chronic constipation, although commonly considered a disease per se, is in reality only a symptom indicating the presence of some more general disorder. This symptom, if such we may be permitted to term it, is one which accompanies a great many disorders, being most frequently met with in persons having some other digestive disturbance. Whenever encountered, it is an indication of some inhibitory power acting through the motor, vasomotor, secretory, or sensory mechanisms of the alimentary canal. These mechanisms, being involuntary in nature, are under the control of the sympathetic nervous system; consequently the primary cause of the constipation must be sought for in some inhibitory influence acting on any or all of the mechanisms referred to.

A brief survey of the anatomy and physiology of the sympathetic system will make clear the anatomic relationship existing between the cerebrospinal and the sympathetic system, and also their control over the functional

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