This guideline covers diagnosing and managing constipation in children and young people up to 18. It provides strategies to support the early identification and timely, effective treatment of constipation which will help improve outcomes for patients. It does not cover constipation caused by a specific condition.
This guideline includes recommendations on:
- history-taking and physical examination
- digital rectal examination
- clinical investigations and management
- diet and lifestyle
- psychological interventions
- antegrade colonic enema procedure
- information and support
Who is it for?
- Healthcare professionals
- Children and young people aged up to 18, their families and carers
Is this guideline up to date?
We checked this guideline in July 2014. We found nothing new that affects the recommendations in this guideline.
Next review: 2018
Guideline development process
This guideline was previously called constipation in children and young people: diagnosis and management of idiopathic childhood constipation in primary and secondary care.
In November 2011, changes were made to 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.
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.
Commissioners and providers have a responsibility to promote an environmentally sustainable health and care system and should assess and reduce the environmental impact of implementing NICE recommendations wherever possible.