Gastroenterology and nutrition: Edited by Robert WyllieRecent advances in chronic constipationWalia, Ritu; Mahajan, Lori; Steffen, Rita Author Information Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, The Children's Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio, USA Correspondence to Dr Rita Steffen, MD, Staff Physician, Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, The Children's Hospital, Cleveland Clinic, 9500 Euclid Avenue, Cleveland, OH 44195, USA Tel: +1 216 445 7564; e-mail: [email protected] Current Opinion in Pediatrics: October 2009 - Volume 21 - Issue 5 - p 661-666 doi: 10.1097/MOP.0b013e32832ff241 Buy Metrics Abstract Purpose of review Chronic constipation remains one of the most frequent complaints in primary and subspecialty pediatric clinics. It is associated with significant emotional and economic burden for both the children and the caregivers. Recently, advances have expanded our understanding of the pathophysiology and treatment options for children with chronic constipation. Here, we review current strategies addressing the cause, diagnostic technologies and treatments of chronic constipation. Recent findings There is some new information presented here on techniques for diagnosis and long-term complications associated with chronic childhood constipation. Comparative data on current laxatives and the development of medications with novel mechanisms of action are reviewed for a glimpse into the horizon of possible new treatments for children with chronic constipation. Studies on effects of growth, quality of life, dietary fiber and symptoms, which may coexist with constipation, are discussed. Summary The recent literature on chronic constipation has provided some new knowledge providing a more evidence-based approach to treating these patients. We review the scope of this problem and the estimated cost of treating constipation. The availability of long-term outcome data enhances our understanding of the natural history of this problem. Newer pharmacological approaches provide optimism for treatment for this common problem. © 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.