How Sensory Processing Contributes to Constipation in Children

A recent cross-sectional study (LM Little et al. J Pediatr 2019; 210: 141-5) which examined sensory processing and constipaiton included 66 children and 66 control children.

Key finding:

  • Children with chronic constipation had significantly higher sensory scores than matched controls.  This included sensory avoiding (P<.001) and sensory sensitivity (P<.05).

The authors utilized the Child Sensory Profile-2 and the Toileting Habit Profile Questionnaire.

The finding that sensory problems contribute to chronic constipation. In those with over-responsiveness, which was more frequent in this study, this can lead to avoidance behaviors.  In under-responsiveness, children may not realized that they need to defecate which can lead to problems as well.

My take: This study suggests that recognition of how sensory problems contribute to chronic constipation could improve counseling/treatment approaches.

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