The Indian Journal of Pediatrics

, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 299–309 | Cite as

Chronic constipation in infants and children

  • M. Kabir Younoszai
Symposium: Pediatric Gastroenterology


Around 1 per cent of infants and children suffer from chronic constipation, and is usually accompanied by soiling of the underpants. In most, the cause is unknown, however, some recent studies show evidence for disturbed motility in the anorectal region. Thus, this entity appears to have a functional basis and may be properly labelled as chronic “functional” constipation. The diagnosis of chronic “functional” constipation in infants and children is made by excluding all other causes of chronic constipation. Important among these are hypothyroidism, Hirschsprung’s disease especially that with involvement of a short segment of the distal rectum, congenital, and other anomalies of the gastro-intestinal tract. Anorectal manometry is a useful test to rule out Hirschsprung’s disease. The treatment involves disimpaction of the rectum and colon from feces and maintaining flow of colonic contents. This is achieved by using enemas and by using fecal softeners. The fecal softeners are used for prolonged periods and then gradually weaned. Recovery rate is about 50 per cent during the first year. Some may need fecal softeners for many years.


Constipation Internal Anal Sphincter Chronic Constipation Anorectal Manometry Fecal Impaction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Dr. K C Chaudhuri Foundation 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Kabir Younoszai
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pediatrics, Division of GastroenterologyUniversity of Iowa Hospitals and ClinicsIowa City

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