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Pediatría (Asunción)

On-line version ISSN 1683-9803

Abstract

MALLADA, Daniela; LACARRUBBA, José  and  GARCETE, Lidia. Clinico-epidemiological characteristics and parental perception of functional constipation in childhood in a hospital population. Pediatr. (Asunción) [online]. 2021, vol.48, n.1, pp.51-58. ISSN 1683-9803.  https://doi.org/10.31698/ped.48012021009.

Introduction:

Functional constipation (FC) in children is a common problem, constituting an important health problem.

Objective:

To determine the clinical-epidemiological characteristics and the perception of parents and / or caregivers of children who consulted because of FC in childhood.

Materials and Methods:

This was a cross-sectional descriptive and observational study, using interviews with a semi-structured survey with caregivers of children aged 2 to 10 years in a Pediatric Outpatient Unit.

Results:

out of 374 respondents, 251 (67%) children were in the care of their parents and came from the Central Department. The frequency of FC was 4.8% (4.4% in preschool and 5.1% in schoolchildren). In schoolchildren, it predominated in boys. In children with FC, painful defecation was reported in 66.6%, a family history of constipation in 61%, excessive dairy intake in 39%, and 17% did not consume any fruit or vegetable. 55.5% of children began sphincter training before 24 months. 11% of caregivers were without schooling. From the respondents’ perspective, constipation was considered: defecation effort (27%), absence of daily defecation (19.7%), hard and painful stools (34.4%) and need to use laxatives (18.9%). 367/374 (98.1%) knew the intestinal habits of the children in their care in terms of frequency, characteristics and symptoms. They reported the use of suppositories, laxatives and enemas in 100% in FC.

Conclusions:

The frequency of FC was lower than the reported world average of 12%, with a predominance in school-age males. There was a family history of constipation, unclear conceptualization of FC, inappropriate practices in prevention and management of FC.

Keywords : Constipation; fecal incontinence; children.

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