Familial Clustering of Habitual Constipation: A Prospective Study in Children from West Virginia

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 3-2010


Objective: To investigate familial clustering of habitual constipation in pediatric patients who attended our medical facilities.

Patients and Methods: Children with the diagnosis of functional, habitual constipation or patients without constipation and their respective family members were prospectively recruited to our study. Constipation was established in all participants using a standard questionnaire (Rome criteria).

Results: A total of 112 children and their families participated in the study, of which 37 were probands families (test) and 75 children and their respective family members constituted the control group. A total of 310 family members completed the questionnaire. No significant differences were found between the study and the control groups in age, sex, or family size. Siblings or parents from the study group (probands) had significantly higher rates of constipation compared with the control group (30% vs 7% and 42% vs 9%, respectively; P = 0.001).

Conclusions: Habitual constipation in children seemed to cluster in families. The pathophysiology behind this phenomenon is yet unknown.


This article first appeared in the March 2010 Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition, and is linked to with permission. ©2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins