Recent advances in chronic constipation


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Abstract

Purpose of reviewChronic constipation remains one of the most frequent complaints in primary and subspecialty pediatric clinics. It is associated with significant emotional and economic burden for both the children and the caregivers. Recently, advances have expanded our understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment options for children with chronic constipation. Here, we review current strategies addressing the cause, diagnostic technologies and treatments of chronic constipation.Recent findingsThere is some new information presented here on techniques for diagnosis and long-term complications associated with chronic childhood constipation. Comparative data on current laxatives and the development of medications with novel mechanisms of action are reviewed for a glimpse into the horizon of possible new treatments for children with chronic constipation. Studies on effects of growth, quality of life, dietary fiber and symptoms, which may coexist with constipation, are discussed.SummaryThe recent literature on chronic constipation has provided some new knowledge providing a more evidence-based approach to treating these patients. We review the scope of this problem and the estimated cost of treating constipation. The availability of long-term outcome data enhances our understanding of the natural history of this problem. Newer pharmacological approaches provide optimism for treatment for this common problem.

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