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Constipation in Children and Young People: Diagnosis and Management of Idiopathic Childhood Constipation in Primary and Secondary Care

Constipation in Children and Young People: Diagnosis and Management of Idiopathic Childhood Constipation in Primary and Secondary Care

NICE Clinical Guidelines - National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health (UK)

Version: 2010

Introduction

Constipation is common in childhood. It is prevalent in around 5–30% of children, depending on the criteria used for diagnosis. Symptoms become chronic in more than one third of patients and constipation is a common reason for referral to secondary care.,,, Morbidity may be under-reported as people may not seek advice because they are embarrassed.

Clinical management

Faecal impaction is a severe constipation with a large faecal mass in either the rectum or the abdomen, and/or overflow soiling. Disimpaction involves the evacuation of impacted faeces using one or more different treatment regimens.

Guidance summary

Establish during history-taking whether the child or young person has constipation. Two or more findings from table 1 indicate constipation.

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