Differences in sensory processing may cause chronic constipation in children, according to a new study.
Children between the age of 3 and 5 years with chronic constipation were evaluated for sensory processing patterns and how it impacted toileting behaviour. It was found that pre-school children with constipation problems showed increased response to sensory stimuli and avoidance behaviour compared to those who did not have constipation problems. They had higher oral processing, sensory avoidance, sensory sensitivity and visual processing vs controls. Children who are sensitive to food texture and taste may avoid certain foods whereas those having pleasing to the eye such as sweet foods may be favoured. In the same way certain bowel movements causes discomfort may cause children to avoid toiletering.
The study has important implications for parents and physicians who could think of behavioural interventions as a complement to medical approach to treating chronic constipation.