We looked at laxative consumption and its relationship to bowel habits, total gastrointestinal transit time (TGITT), and symptoms in patients with chronic nonorganic constipation. Of the patients, 87.9% used laxative, 30% habitually. Laxative intake increased with age, so that habitual consumption was more frequent in patients with long-standing (greater than 10 years) constipation. Although habitual laxative users had a consistent trend toward lower bowel frequency and prolonged TGITT, no relationship was found among intake and observed bowel frequency, TGITT, or large bowel segmental transit time. Although laxatives induced more satisfactory or less difficult evacuations, they also caused diarrhea and mucus in the stool. Laxative consumption did not bring about any detectable improvement in the abdominal or extraabdominal symptoms usually associated with constipation.