Chronic Constipation in Young Children: Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
Chronic constipation is a long-term disorder of the digestive system which occurs as a symptom of irritable bowel movement. It is more common in children than adults and can be quite distressing for the sufferer. The condition is characterized by infrequent and difficult bowel movements, abdominal pain and bloating. In severe cases, constipation can lead to intestinal blockage and fecal impaction.
2. Description of chronic constipation in a young child
Molly is a four year old female who was admitted to the children’s ward with a history of chronic constipation. She had been experiencing infrequent and difficult bowel movements for the past six months, associated with abdominal pain and bloating. Molly had previously been treated with laxatives but they had not provided any relief. On examination, Molly was found to have an impacted feces in her rectum.
3. Causes of chronic constipation in a young child
There are many possible causes of chronic constipation in young children, but the most common is dietary fibre deficiency. A diet lacking in fibre can lead to hard, dry stools which are difficult to pass. Other possible causes include lack of physical activity, dehydration, stress and certain medications.
4. Diagnosis of chronic constipation in a young child
The diagnosis of chronic constipation is usually made based on the symptoms reported by the child or parent. A physical examination may also be conducted to assess the severity of the condition. In some cases, further testing such as X-rays or colonoscopy may be required to rule out other potential causes of the child’s symptoms.
5. Treatment of chronic constipation in a young child
The first line of treatment for chronic constipation is usually dietary changes. This may involve increasing the intake of fibre-rich foods such as whole grains, dried fruits and vegetables, and psyllium husk. If these measures are not successful, laxatives such as docusate sodium or lubiprostone may be prescribed. In some cases, enemas or manual removal of impacted feces may be necessary.
6. Prevention of chronic constipation in a young child
The best way to prevent chronic constipation in young children is to ensure that they consume a balanced diet with plenty of fibre-rich foods. It is also important to encourage them to stay active and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day.
Chronic constipation is a long-term disorder of the digestive system which can be distressing for sufferers, especially young children. The condition is usually caused by dietary fibre deficiency and can be treated with dietary changes, laxatives or enemas/manual removal in severe cases. Prevention is key and should focus on ensuring a balanced diet and adequate fluid intake