We propose to develop parent and child disease-specific instruments to assess health related
quality of life (HRQoL) in children with constipation and fecal incontinence.
Chronic constipation is a common problem in childhood, accounting for almost 3% of
consultations in pediatric practice. In many children constipation is accompanied by
overflow soiling (fecal incontinence). This condition often gives rise to behavioral,
social, and emotional problems.
We plan to develop a disease-specific instrument to assess HRQoL in children with
constipation and fecal incontinence. We hypothesize that HRQoL is worse in children with
fecal incontinence compared to children with constipation but no fecal incontinence. The
instrument will involve both parent and child self-reporting measures and will enable
researchers to evaluate how disease and treatment strategies impact both child and parent
perceptions of quality of life. In the long run this will enable physicians to develop a
child friendly approach to management of chronic constipation and fecal incontinence.
1. Age 2-18 years
2. Child and parents fluent in English
3. Child must meet one of the following criteria;
A. Constipation and fecal incontinence: must include 2 or more of the following in a child
with insufficient criteria for a diagnosis of IBS (criteria fulfilled at least once per
week for at least 2 months before diagnosis in a child over 4 years of age and for at
least one month in a child less than 4 years of age):
1. Two or fewer defecations in the toilet per week
2. At least 1 episode of fecal incontinence per week
3. History of retentive posturing or excessive volitional stool retention
4. History of painful or hard bowel movements
5. Presence of a large fecal mass in the rectum
6. History of large diameter stools that may obstruct the toilet
B. Constipation predominant IBS: must include the following, once a week for at least 2
1. Abdominal pain/discomfort, associated with 2 of the following:
- improved with defecation
- onset associated with 2 or less stools per week
- onset associated with hard or lump stool
2. no evidence of inflammatory, anatomic, metabolic or neoplastic processes.
C. Non retentive fecal incontinence: must include all of the following in a child with a
developmental age of at least 4 years (criteria fulfilled at least once per week for at
least 2 months before diagnosis) :
1. Defecation into places inappropriate to the social context at least once per month.
2. No evidence of an inflammatory, anatomic, metabolic, or neoplastic process that
explains the subject's symptoms
3. No evidence of fecal retention.
1. Children with developmental delays and children over 12 years of age who are unable
to understand the questionnaires.
2. Associated chronic disease which may have an impact on quality of life such as
cerebral palsy, spine deformity or malformations, learning difficulties, severe
mental illness, celiac disease, etc.
3. Child and parents not fluent in English.