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Fifteen-minute consultation on the healthy child: Bowel habit in infants and children


A common presentation to the general paediatric clinic is a child or young person’s difficult bowel habit, which is often a potent source of anxiety for parents and carers. A large proportion of these children will have a functional cause for their symptoms, with unnecessary investigation and non-evidence-based treatments adding to their difficulties. This article aims to explain what encompasses the normal bowel habit in children and young people, reassure where appropriate and identify those patterns that may be suggestive of a disorder or disease requiring treatment. We illustrate both extremes of the spectrum of normal bowel habit in children with two case studies.

  • castroenterology
  • general paediatrics

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