This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Sanger, G. J. (2016), Chronic constipation: improved understanding offers a new therapeutic approach. J Physiol, 594: 4085–4087. doi:10.1113/JP272560, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1113/JP272560. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving.