Constipation and faecal incontinence are common symptoms among patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), myelomeningocoele (MMC), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson's disease (PD) and stroke. Faecal incontinence in SCI, MMC and MS is mainly due to abnormal rectosigmoid compliance and rectoanal reflexes, loss of rectoanal sensibility and loss of voluntary control of the external anal sphincter. Constipation in SCI, MMC and MS is probably due to immobilisation, abnormal colonic contractility, tone and rectoanal reflexes or side effects from medication. In PD, dystonia of the external anal sphincter causes difficult rectal evacuation and the loss of dopaminergic neurons in the enteric nervous system probably causes slow-transit constipation. Changes after stroke remain to be studied. Though dietary adjustments, oral laxatives, suppositories and other conservative treatment modalities are commonly used, evidence for their use in patients with central neurological disorders is scarce. For patients with severe symptoms trans-anal irrigation, the Malone appendicostomy or a colostomy can be recommended.