What is included in patient education about pediatric constipation?

Updated: Dec 14, 2018
  • Author: Stephen M Borowitz, MD; Chief Editor: Carmen Cuffari, MD  more...
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Answer

It is very important to educate the family that using laxatives continuously for months may be necessary. This is particularly true in toddlers, because many months may pass before their association between the fear of pain and defecation is extinguished.

Caregivers should be reassured as to the safety of long-term laxative use, and the importance of persistent treatment should be strongly reinforced. Address the common misconceptions about laxative dependency and the increased risk of colon cancer due to long-term laxative usage.

Inform the family that relapses are common and are often associated with changes in the child's daily routine (eg, vacations) or during times of stress. Also, inform the family that the requirement of intermittent therapy with laxatives into adulthood is not unusual.

For patient education information, see Esophagus, Stomach, and Intestine Center as well as Constipation in Children.


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