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Indian Pediatr. 2016 Apr;53(4):319-27.

Approach to Constipation in Children.

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Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India. Correspondence to: Dr Ujjal Poddar, Professor, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology, SGPGIMS, Lucknow 226 014, Uttar Pradesh, India.



There is a scarcity of literature, and prevalent misconceptions about constipation in India.


A literature search in PubMed was conducted with regard to epidemiology, clinical features, and management of constipation. Special emphasis was paid to functional constipation and refractory constipation. English language studies available full text over the last 25 years were considered and relevant information was extracted.


Estimated prevalence of constipation is 3% among toddlers and pre-school children worldwide and 95%, of them are considered functional. A careful history and thorough physical examination is all that is required to diagnose functional constipation. Management includes disimpaction followed by maintenance therapy with oral laxative, dietary modification and toilet training. A close and regular follow-up is necessary for successful treatment. In most of the cases laxative needs to be continued for several months and sometimes years. Early withdrawal of laxative is the commonest cause of recurrence. Refractory constipation is less common in primary care set up. Radiological colon transit study is useful in picking up Slow transit constipation. Antegrade continence enema plays an important role in the management of slow transit constipation.

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