Functional Constipation and GERD Frequently Co-occur in Children

Table of Content


Functional constipation (FC) and Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) are common gastrointestinal (GI) disorders in children. Studies have reported overlap and association between various functional GI diseases.


To determine the correlation between FC and GERD in children

Patient Profile

  • Children (4-16 years) suspected to have FC as per the ROME III criteria, and GERD as per the clinical history and DeMeester Score


Study Design

  • A cross-sectional study


Data was obtained using the questionnaire which was designed in three parts:

  • First part: characteristics of the child such as age, sex, and cause of the visit.
  • Second part: GERD symptoms, specific to the age groups (infants and
  • older children).
  • Third part: biographies, clinical examinations and subsequent results in pediatric patients with difficulty of defecation.


  • Overall, 82 children presented with FC and GERD, of these; 45 were boys and 37 were girls.
  • Of these 82, 50 (61%) patients reported FC prior to the onset of GERD, whereas 32 (39%) children suffered with reflux before FC.
  • The mean age of the children presenting with FC was 5.66 years and those presenting with GERD was 5.24 years; the difference in mean age did not differ significantly.
  • Of the children with GERD, 13 (40.6%) were males and 19 females. Amongst those with FC 32 (64%) were males and 18 females. The gender-based difference was statistically significant between the two groups.
  • The most commonly reported symptoms of GERD comprised regurgitation, hiccups, restlessness during sleep, retrosternal burning and pain, pulmonary infections and abdominal pain.


  • The prevalence of FC was higher than GERD in children. There was a significant correlation between GERD and FC. Hence, children with FC should also be assessed for GERD.
  • FC and GERD should be considered simultaneously for therapeutic interventions and patients with functional digestive diseases should be monitored regularly.

Ann Med Surg (Lond). 2022 Jan 29;74:103302.  doi: 10.1016/j.amsu.2022.103302.