Review decision date: July 2014

Review decision: 

This guideline should not be updated at this time. Please refer to the surveillance review decision.

Next review date: 2018

Constipation is common in childhood. It affects around 5-30% of the child population, depending on the criteria used for diagnosis.

Symptoms become chronic in more than one third of patients, and constipation is a common reason for referral to secondary care.

This guideline was previously called constipation in children and young people: diagnosis and management of idiopathic childhood constipation in primary and secondary care.

November 2011: There has been a change to the text of the full guideline in the introduction on Psychological Interventions (Section 5.5). The deleted sentences were not supported by the references cited and so it was felt best to remove them. This has not impacted on any of the recommendations within the guideline.

Your responsibility

The recommendations in this guideline represent the view of NICE, arrived at after careful consideration of the evidence available. When exercising their judgement, professionals are expected to take this guideline fully into account, alongside the individual needs, preferences and values of their patients or service users. The application of the recommendations in this guideline is not mandatory and the guideline does not override the responsibility of healthcare professionals to make decisions appropriate to the circumstances of the individual patient, in consultation with the patient and/or their carer or guardian.

Local commissioners and/or providers have a responsibility to enable the guideline to be applied when individual health professionals and their patients or service users wish to use it. They should do so in the context of local and national priorities for funding and developing services, and in light of their duties to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, to advance equality of opportunity and to reduce health inequalities. Nothing in this guideline should be interpreted in a way that would be inconsistent with compliance with those duties.

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