Slow-transit constipation (STC) is reported to occur in 15% to 30% of people in the U.S. The most widely accepted definition of STC is two or fewer bowel movements per week or straining at stool more than 25% of the time. Research continues to point to STC as a risk factor for colorectal cancer (CRC).
- 56% higher for CRC
- 260% higher for benign neoplasm
- 256% higher for benign neoplasm in colon
- 262% higher for anal and rectal polyps
Current management options for STC range from dietary counseling, pharmacological therapy, and surgery.
While the etiology of STC remains unclear, there is increasing evidence that it is caused by an imbalance in the gut microbiome. Shengsheng Zhang et al. in their 2021 review published in Gastroenterology Report found that gut microbiota may play a major role in modulating colonic motility, secretion, and absorption. However, there is still much research needed to understand how the gut microbiome modulates movement of fecal matter through the small intestine and colon.
Conversations about the role of the gut microbiome in CRC development were a part of the Early-Age Onset Colorectal Cancer Summit held by the Colon Cancer Foundation in May 2022. —Gargi Patel
Gargi Patel is a Colon Cancer Prevention Intern with the Colon Cancer Foundation.
This article was originally published by the Colon Cancer Foundation on January 5, 2021. It is republished by permission.