NICE constipation in children guideline

Paediatrician doctor is examining child with stethoscope_AS

Constipation affects 5-30% of children with chronic symptoms in one third of those affected. Constipation can be affected by pain, fever, dehydration, dietary and fluid intake, psychological issues, toilet training, medicines and familial history of constipation. Constipation is common in children with physical disabilities, including cerebral palsy, and children with Down’s syndrome or autism. Failure to recognise and treat childhood constipation can lead to the formation of anal fissures, chronic constipation and social, psychological and educational consequences.

This Guidelines summary contains recommendations for recognising signs and symptoms of constipation in children, details on history and examination important for diagnosis of underlying or associated conditions, and advice for pharmacological and non-pharmacological management. It includes a table comparing laxative agents and doses in children, and tables comparing physical examination and relevant history details to aid diagnosis.

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