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    Constipation and Behavioral Problems in Children Studied

    Functional constipation linked to three- to four-fold higher prevalence of behavioral problems

    MONDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Behavioral problems are three to four times more common in Dutch children with functional constipation than children in the general population, according to research published online Jan. 18 in Pediatrics.

    Marieke van Dijk, of the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and colleagues analyzed data from 133 children and adolescents, aged 4 to 18 years, with functional constipation who were referred to a gastrointestinal outpatient clinic at a children's hospital. Parental reports of behavioral and emotional problems were assessed with the Child Behavior Checklist.

    The researchers found that the prevalence of overall, internalizing, and externalizing behavioral problems was 37, 36, and 27 percent, respectively, in comparison with 9 percent in the general Dutch population. Longer duration of treatment was associated with overall and externalizing behavioral problems. Fecal incontinence and producing large stools were associated with externalizing problems.

    "Although the majority of children with constipation do not have behavioral disturbances, our findings show that behavior problems in children with constipation must not be underestimated," the authors write. "High prevalence rates of emotional and behavior problems justify incorporation of behavioral screening in the diagnostic workup of children with constipation. Children with constipation who have behavior problems may benefit from additional behavioral psychotherapeutic treatment that aim at both parent and child."

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