Chronic Constipation Appears to Be Increasing Among
FRIDAY, Oct. 29 (HealthDay News) -- An increasing number of
American children require treatment for serious and chronic bouts
of constipation, according to experts.
Lack of physical activity, low-fiber diets and insufficient
consumption of water may be contributing to the problem, they
Gastroenterologists at Johns Hopkins Children's Center reported
seeing a 30 percent rise in the number of such cases between 2008
and 2009. The center has opened a new clinic to provide medical and
behavioral therapy for children with the condition.
It's not clear whether the increase in children requiring
treatment is due to an actual rise in the number of severe cases of
constipation or whether it's the result of delayed diagnosis,
insufficient treatment, and referral at more advanced stages, said
Dr. Maria Oliva-Hemker, director of pediatric Gastroenterology
& Nutrition at Hopkins Children's.
Constipation is easy to miss in young children and its severity
is often overlooked, resulting in delayed treatment and worsening
symptoms, she explained.
"Severe constipation needs to be treated early and aggressively. And no amount of fiber or prune juice will help a child with serious chronic constipation," Oliva-Hemker said in a Hopkins news release.
Parents should take their child to the doctor if they notice
symptoms such as: abdominal bloating and a feeling of fullness;
straining with bowel movements; lumpy or hard stools and/or small
pellet-like stools, accompanied by a feeling of incomplete emptying
of the bowels.
Children with serious constipation may also refuse to go to the
toilet, hide to go in a private place, or experience underwear
soiling and bedwetting.
The U.S. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney
Diseases has more about
children and constipation.
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