Functional constipation is a prevalent condition in childhood, about 29.6% worldwide. In the United States, represents 3% to 5% of pediatric visits and a considerable annual health care cost. Most children do not have an etiological factor, and one third continue to have problems beyond adolescence. Up to 84% of functionally constipated children suffer from fecal incontinence, while more than one-third of children present with behavioral problems primary or secondary due to constipation. Pathophysiology underlying functional constipation is multifactorial and not well understood. Factors that may contribute to functional constipation include pain, fever, dehydration, dietary and fluid intake, psychological issues, toilet training, medicines, and family history of constipation.
Chronic idiopathic constipation is characterized by lack of periodicity in defecating, difficulty or pain during defecation without an identifiable organic cause, such as physiological, anatomical, radiological, or histological. Even though this is a common problem in children, an underlying cause is identified in less 5% of cases.
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