Functional constipation in infants: a follow-up study

J Pediatr. 2005 Nov;147(5):700-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2005.05.032.


Our objective of this study was to describe the clinical course of severe functional constipation in early childhood. Eligible patients were 47 children (60% boys; median age, 3.5 months) who had constipation in their first year of life. Follow-up data were obtained through a standardized questionnaire. Success was defined as a period of at least 4 weeks with > or =3 painless bowel movements per week. Six months after initial evaluation, 69% of the children were recovered. After initial success, a relapse occurred in 15% of the children within 3 years. A duration of symptoms <3 months before referral correlated significantly with better outcome. We conclude that most infants with severe constipation evaluated at a tertiary center are recovered after 6 months. Early therapeutic intervention may beneficially contribute to the resolution of constipation.

MeSH terms

  • Cathartics / therapeutic use
  • Constipation / diagnosis
  • Constipation / physiopathology
  • Constipation / therapy*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Prognosis
  • Recovery of Function
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Cathartics