Constipation is a highly prevalent functional gastrointestinal disorder that may significantly
affect the quality of life and health care costs. Treatment for constipation has been broadly
reviewed by cognitive therapies, medications, and surgical interventions. Gut microbiota such as
Bifidobacterium, Clostridium, Bacteroidetes, and Lactobacilli have been demonstrated in functional
gastrointestinal disorders and prebiotics to play a role in augmenting their presence. Prebiotics are
ingredients in foods that remain undigested, stimulating the bacteria. There are a variety of prebiotics;
however, there exists only a handful of studies that describe their efficacy for chronic constipation.
The purpose of this study is to review the available literature on the utility of different commercially
available prebiotics in patients with functional and chronic idiopathic constipation. To
fulfil the objectives of the study, published articles in the English language on databases such as
Pubmed, Ovid Medline, and EMBASE were searched. The terms prebiotics, constipation, chronic
constipation, functional constipation were used. We reviewed and included 21 randomized controlled
trials exploring the role of prebiotics in constipated adults. Prebiotics are effective treatments
for chronic idiopathic constipation and showed improvement in the stool consistency, number of
bowel moments and bloating. Although which prebiotic formulary would promote improved symptoms
of constipation is still not clear.