Laxatives are effective in relieving chronic abdominal pain in children with occult constipation, researchers at CHA Hospital said.
|Professor Jung Soo-jin|
Compared to regular constipation, doctors can feel solid stool during a rectal examination of a patient suffering from occult constipation. Also, an x-ray of the patient shows distended bowel due to feces in an x-ray, they said. Chronic abdominal pain refers to severe abdominal pain cases of at least three times in three months in children aged four to 16 years-old.
The research team, led by Professor Jung Soo-jin of the pediatric department at the hospital, conducted an abdominal examination and radiography on 267 patients, aged 4 to 12, who visited the hospital. The team found that 52.7 percent of the patients suffered from occult constipation.
The hospital treated patients with either a prokinetic drug or laxative and medicated the patients for three months to ascertain the improvement of their abdominal pain.
As a result, 79.2 percent of the patients treated with laxatives had reduced pain scores, while only 48.3 percent treated with prokinetic drugs showed a decrease in pain.
“It is difficult to diagnose children with chronic abdominal pain with conventional questions such as bathroom visits, the stiffness of the stool and whether they give excessive force while defecating,” Professor Jung said. “After diagnosing occult constipation through accurate abdominal physical examination or simple abdominal radiography, laxatives may help reduce the frequency and severity of the abdominal pain.
The Journal of Korean Medical Science published the results of the study.
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