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Sensory Sensitivity Tied to Constipation in Young Children

Feeding problems due to sensory sensitivities common in children with constipation

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THURSDAY, April 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- Children with chronic constipation have underlying sensory characteristics that contribute to toileting behavioral difficulties, according to a study published online April 18 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Lauren M. Little, Ph.D., from Rush University in Chicago, and colleagues assessed differences in sensory processing patterns between children ages 3 and 5 years old with constipation (66 participants) and a matched control sample (66 participants). The authors also examined the contribution of sensory processing patterns to atypical toileting behaviors.

The researchers found that children with chronic constipation showed significantly higher sensory scores than the control group, particularly in oral processing, visual processing, sensory avoiding, and sensory sensitivity. Sensory registration, avoidance, and oral processing significantly predicted toileting behavior over-responsiveness, while toileting under-responsiveness was predicted by attentional difficulties.

"By identifying sensory processing patterns of children with chronic constipation, we can optimize behavioral interventions to complement laxative therapy for this population," the authors write.

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