Clinical Characteristics of Pediatric Constipation in South Jordan
Department of Pediatrics, Mu`tah University, Al Karak, Jordan
Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr 2014 September 17(3):155-161
Constipation is a common pediatric problem worldwide. This study aims to describe the clinical characteristic sof pediatric constipation in south Jordan according to gender and age group.
All patients with constipation managed at our pediatric gastroenterology service between September 2009 and December 2012 were included. Hospital charts were reviewed. Demographic data, clinical characteristics, and final diagnosis were recorded. Data were analyzed according to gender and the following age groups: infants,pre-school, school age, and adolescents.
During the study period, 126 patients were enrolled. The number (percentage) of patients according to age were the following infants: 43 (34.1%), pre-school: 55 (43.7%), school age: 25 (19.8%), and adolescents: 3 (2.4%). Males made up 54.8% of the study population. There were no statistical gender differences in any age group. The most common symptom in all age groups was dry, hard stool. Infrequent defecation was found in almost one-half of the patients. Fecal incontinence was more common in school-aged children compared to pre-school-aged children and adolescents. Abdominal pain was seen in almost 40% of the constipated children. Abdominal pain was more prevalent in girls and older children. Fecal mass in the rectum was the most common physical finding, with constipated boys exhibiting higher rates. Functional constipation was the most common etiology.
Clinical characteristics of constipation in children vary according to age group and gender. Older children had less frequent bowel motions, a longer duration of symptoms, and a higher prevalence of long-standing constipation compilations (fecal incontinence and abdominal pain).