A recent study in Pediatrics concluded that 25% of children with functional constipation continued to experience symptoms at adult age, suggesting that referral to specialized clinics at an early stage for children who are unresponsive to first-line treatment may help improve outcomes. (1)

After completing the article, the reader should be able to:

What do the following children have in common?

Answer: They share a familiar diagnosis: functional constipation.

Constipation is a common pediatric problem and parental concern. In general, a complaint of constipation accounts for 5% of general pediatric office visits and 25% of all referrals to pediatric gastroenterologists. The estimated worldwide prevalence is 0.7% to 29.6%. (2) Constipation rarely signifies a serious disease, but it has an unfavorable impact on patient quality of life, parental satisfaction, and health-care costs. Children with constipation often complain of abdominal pain, decreased appetite, and painful stooling, which can...

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