Fibre helps with child constipation

FIBRE supplements are slightly more effective than placebo in treating children with functional constipation, a systematic review has found.

However, researchers said fluid supplements, prebiotics, probiotics and behavioural intervention had no evidence of effect.

Chronic constipation affects an estimated 3% of children in the western world, with 30% of patients who develop constipation before five years of age continuing to have severe complaints of constipation, infrequent painful defecation, and faecal incontinence beyond puberty.

The study by Dutch researchers on non-pharmacological treatments included nine systematic reviews and randomised controlled trials (RCTs) involving 640 children.

They found fibre supplements such as glucomannan were significantly superior to placebo.

No RCTs were found on the effectiveness of physical movement, multidisciplinary treatment or alternative medicine, despite other studies showing