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Constipation common among children

Constipation is common among children up to 2 years old. However, dietary changes and laxatives usually resolve the problem.

Constipation common among children

Constipation is common among children up to 2 years old. Dietary changes and laxatives, however, usually resolve the problem. Researchers from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, measured the rate of constipation in 4,157 children 2 years of age or younger. In addition, they documented the effects of dietary changes, corn syrup, or laxatives. They identified 185 children with constipation. Up to 1 year of age, 2.9 percent of the children had constipation, but this increased to 10.1 percent in the second year. Boys and girls were affected equally. Constipation in early life is a special situation, the researchers pointed out, because there is a possibility that it's caused by a serious congenital disorder. In this study, however, underlying disease caused constipation in only three of the children. Dietary changes, corn syrup, or both were the initial treatment in 116 children and for 80 percent of children with less than 2 weeks of symptoms. One hundred eight children returned for follow-up, and constipation resolved in 27 children. A total of 30 children were treated with milk of magnesia and 70 were given polyethylene glycol 3350. Of these 100 children, 44 had undergone prior treatment with dietary changes, corn syrup or both, which had failed. A total of 93 children underwent follow-up examinations, which showed that treatment resolved constipation in 92 percent of these kids. The researchers said that constipation in young kids is usually a learned behaviour, after they have experienced a bout of painful defecation. They advise parents to be on the lookout for such episodes, and to intervene quickly to lessen the risk that their child will develop chronic constipation or faecal soiling.
Journal of Pediatrics,
April 2005
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