Abdominal massage can relieve opioid-induced constipation

  • Yıldırım D & al.
  • Eur J Oncol Nurs
  • 1 Aug 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • 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.

Study design

  • 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.

Key results

  • 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).

Limitations

  • The study was single-center with a small sample size.
  • Patients' constipation and defecation data were self-reported.
  • Abdominal massages were self-administered.

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