Idiopathic childhood constipation - BMJ review

Constipation is the subjective complaint of passage of abnormally delayed or infrequent passage of dry, hardened faeces, often accompanied by straining and/or pain.

Constipation is common in childhood, is rarely life threatening, and therefore might be expected to have little effect on healthcare provision. The reality is somewhat different, however.

Symptoms become chronic in more than a third of patients, causing great discomfort, and many children need medical treatment and nursing care.

Social costs include children missing school, being excluded from peer group activities, and feeling that they cannot tell their friends about their condition.

Practice Guidelines: Diagnosis and management of idiopathic childhood constipation: summary of NICE guidance. BMJ 2010;340:c2585.

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