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Hypothyroidism Is a Rare Cause of Isolated Constipation

Bennett, William E. Jr*; Heuckeroth, Robert O.

Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition: February 2012 - Volume 54 - Issue 2 - p 285–287
doi: 10.1097/MPG.0b013e318239714f
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ABSTRACT: The prevalence of constipation in children is high and accounts for a large percentage of pediatric and pediatric gastroenterology visits. Thyroid testing is frequently ordered to evaluate constipation and other gastrointestinal complaints in children. We reviewed all of the patients with thyroid testing ordered by our pediatric gastroenterology division during a 5-year period. We found 873 patients on whom thyroid testing was performed, and 56 patients had evidence of hypothyroidism. Nine patients had constipation and clinically significant hypothyroidism in this group; however, only 1 child had constipation as their sole presenting symptom. The contribution of occult hypothyroidism to isolated constipation in children may have been previously overestimated.

*Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, IN

Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to William E. Bennett Jr, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Indiana University School of Medicine, 705 Riley Hospital Dr, ROC 4210, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (e-mail: webjr@iupui.edu).

Received 10 June, 2011

Accepted 15 August, 2011

This research was funded in part by NIH grant NIDDK T32 DK077653-17 (W.E.B.).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright 2012 by ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN