Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Constipation Most Common Cause Of Children's Abdominal Pain

Date:
December 18, 2007
Source:
University of Iowa
Summary:
Acute and chronic constipation together accounted for nearly half of all cases of acute abdominal pain in children treated at one hospital. The study also suggests that physicians should do a simple rectal examination for constipation when trying to determine the cause of abdominal pain in children.

A new study led by a University of Iowa researcher showed that acute and chronic constipation together accounted for nearly half of all cases of acute abdominal pain in children treated at one hospital.

Related Articles


The study also suggests that physicians should do a simple rectal examination for constipation when trying to determine the cause of abdominal pain in children.

Constipation signs include fewer than three bowel movements per week, one or more episodes of stool incontinence per week, passing of stools so large that they obstruct the toilet, retentive posturing (withholding behavior) and painful defecation.

"Constipation can be overlooked as the cause of severe or intermittent abdominal pain, as a reporting of symptoms alone does not always establish that a child has constipation," she said. "Our study helps to show that constipation frequently causes acute abdominal pain and that a physician should not just ask the parent if the child is constipated because the parent may have not been able to see all the signs of this condition."

"The doctor should perform an abdominal examination and a rectal examination to see if the child is retaining stool," said Loening, who sees patients at University of Iowa Children's Hospital.

Loening said that some doctors shy away from the rectal examination, which involves digitally checking for impacted stool in the lower colon, because they believe it may cause a child mental or physical discomfort. However, the test can be performed safely and explained to children so that they understand its purpose.

"It's important for doctors to do a thorough evaluation for abdominal pain, as there are many causes. In addition to constipation, having a cold or sore throat can also cause abdominal pain, for example," Loening-Baucke said.

The findings, which were based on medical records of 962 children ages 4 to nearly 18, appear in the December issue of the Journal of Pediatrics. Earlier studies have shown that constipation can contribute to abdominal pain in children, but no specific recommendations for diagnosing this contributing factor were made, said Vera Loening-Baucke, M.D., professor of pediatrics at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and the study's lead investigator.

The study found that 83 (9 percent) of 962 children who had received at least one "well-child" visit during a six-month period in 2004 at University of Iowa Children's Hospital or University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics reported acute abdominal pain at that visit or another clinic or emergency visit. Significantly more girls (12 percent of the 962) reported such pain, compared to only 5 percent of boys.

Of the 83 children with acute abdominal pain, 72 were seen in a primary care clinic and 11 were examined after hours in the emergency department. Together, acute constipation (lasting eight or fewer weeks) and chronic constipation (lasting eight or more weeks) accounted for 48 percent of the cases (40 children), making it the most common cause of the pain.

Only 2 percent of the children with pain had a surgical condition such as appendicitis. In addition, doctors could not determine causes for 19 percent of the patients with pain.

While most of the patients reviewed in the study were Caucasian, individuals from all other races were included.

In addition to Loening-Baucke, the study team included Alexander Swidsinski, M.D., Ph.D., a faculty member at Charite Hospital and Humdboldt University in Berlin, Germany. Loening-Baucke is now investigating the role of constipation in chronic abdominal pain.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Iowa. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Iowa. "Constipation Most Common Cause Of Children's Abdominal Pain." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217100045.htm>.
University of Iowa. (2007, December 18). Constipation Most Common Cause Of Children's Abdominal Pain. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217100045.htm
University of Iowa. "Constipation Most Common Cause Of Children's Abdominal Pain." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071217100045.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

7-Year-Old Girl Gets 3-D Printed 'robohand'

AP (Mar. 31, 2015) — Although she never had much interest in prosthetic limbs before, Faith Lennox couldn&apos;t wait to slip on her new robohand. The 7-year-old, who lost part of her left arm when she was a baby, grabbed it as soon as it came off a 3-D printer. (March 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins