Constipation

Constipation means that a person has three or fewer bowel movements in a week.


Programs + Services


Primary Care

Find a Primary Care Physician near you. With offices in Boston, Framingham, Quincy and Wellesley, our doctors offer health evaluations and management.
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Physiological and Functional Colon and Rectal Disorders

Our colorectal surgeons at Tufts Medical Center provide treatment for a range of physiological and functional disorders. Learn about the various disorders we treat.
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General Gastroenterology Program

Tufts MC’s department of gastroenterology and hepatology is highly experienced in diagnosing and treating a wide range of gastrointestinal and liver conditions.
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Doctors + Care Team

Martin D. Goodman, MD

Martin D. Goodman, MD

Accepting New Patients

Title(s): Director, Peritoneal Surface Malignancy Program; Surgeon; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Surgery, General Surgery, Surgical Oncology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-9248
Fax #: 617-636-9095

General surgery, advanced abdominal tumors, peritoneal surface malignancies, hepatobiliary/pancreatic/colorectal minimally invasive surgical oncology

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Research + Clinical Trials


Impact of Naloxegol (Movantik) on Prevention of Lower Gastrointestinal Tract Paralysis in Critically Ill Adults Initiated on Scheduled IV Opioid Therapy: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Phase II, Single-Center, Proof of Concept Study

Among the more than 5 million adults who are admitted to the ICU each year in the USA, most have pain and thus receive a pain (analgesic) medication called an opioid. Opioid use in critically ill adults continues to increase given the greater awareness of untreated pain in the ICU population and a recent strong recommendation in the Society of Critical Care Medicine’s Pain, Agitation, and Delirium Guidelines for Critically Ill Adults that an opioid-first approach be used to optimize patient safety and comfort and improve tolerance with breathing machines (i.e. mechanical ventilation). Similar to constipation, paralysis of the lower gastrointestinal (GI) tract is defined as the inability to pass stool due to impaired gut movements, and is a common effect of opioid use in the critically ill. Lower GI tract paralysis will often lead to nausea, vomiting, aspiration, compromise the ability to administer tube feeds (enteral nutrition), increases abdominal pain, and has been shown to delay getting off mechanical ventilation. One recent randomized study found that aggressive use of laxatives to prevent lower GI tract paralysis in critically ill adults was associated with lower daily organ dysfunction [as measured by the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment (SOFA) score]. The lower GI tract paralysis that occurs in the critically ill often responds poorly to laxative medication therapy (e.g., senna, bisacodyl, lactulose). While stool softener medications like docusateare routinely administered to patients on opioids, laxative-based protocols are frequently not initiated in the ICU until signs of lower GI tract paralysis start to appear. There is therefore an important and unmet need for a safe and efficacious medication to prevent lower GI tract paralysis in critically ill adults who are initiated on opioid therapy. Naloxegol (Movantik) is a naloxone-like drug that blocks the effect of opioids on the opioid µ receptor in the gut. Naloxegol is currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of opioid-induced constipation (OIC) in non-ICU patients receiving scheduled moderate to high dose opioids for the treatment of chronic non-cancer pain. Naloxegol has a mechanism of action, efficacy, convenience of administration, and safety profile that make it an ideal candidate for use as a preventative medication for lower GI tract paralysis in critically ill adults receiving opioid therapy through the vein [intravenous (IV)]. We therefore propose a pilot study in which we will test the hypothesis that naloxegol (versus placebo) will reduce the time to the first spontaneous bowel movement (SBM) that the ICU patient has, that it will prevent lower GI tract paralysis in critically ill adults initiated on scheduled IV opioid therapy, and its use will not result in side effects that are concerning to doctors or patients. We will randomize 36 critically ill ICU patients (18 in each arm) to receive naloxegol [25mg or 12.5mg (in patients with kidney problems] or placebo. This pilot study will provide valuable information to help guide future, larger studies of naloxegol in ICU patients.
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