COMPARATIVE STUDY
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Chronic constipation in childhood: a longitudinal study of 186 patients.

One hundred eighty-six patients with chronic constipation and soiling were seen between 1975 and 1982. On follow-up, 47% had resolution of symptoms, with another 36% having their soiling controlled with either continuous or intermittent laxatives. Thirteen clinical features were analyzed in relation to outcome. The only predictor of poor outcome was the presence of soiling (p = 0.003), while the presence of abdominal pain correlated well with cure (p = 0.007). Fifty-five percent of patients had a positive family history for constipation. Significant psychological problems were present in 20% of patients; however, these did not appear to affect the outcome. Constipation was uncommon over the age of 12 years, and there was no evidence of the development of laxative dependence. These findings suggest that chronic idiopathic constipation of childhood may be a constitutional condition which tends to resolve with age.

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