- Abdominal massage can decrease opioid-induced constipation symptoms and improve QoL.
Why this matters
- Bowel dysfunction leading to constipation is a common adverse effect of opioids, and occurs in up to 88% of patients treated for cancer-related and other types of pain.
- Researchers studied patients presenting with opioid-induced constipation (N=204), randomly assigning them either to an experimental group trained to self-administer abdominal massage 30 minutes before both breakfast and dinner for 4 weeks or a control group that received standard care.
- Patients in both groups completed defecation diaries, symptom severity questionnaires, and constipation QoL questionnaires.
- Funding: None disclosed.
- Patients who self-administered abdominal massage reported decreases in severity of constipation, feelings of incomplete bowel emptying, severity of straining, severity of anal pain, and bloating (all P<.001>
- They also reported better stool consistency, more bowel movements, and improved QoL scores (all P=.001).
- The study was single-center with a small sample size.
- Patients' constipation and defecation data were self-reported.
- Abdominal massages were self-administered.