Twelve of 112 infants and children with coeliac disease were constipated at some time before diagnosis. Of the 12 children 9 had faecal impaction when first seen, and in 3 of them coeliac disease was not suspected at the first investigation; 3 children had a history of constipation alternating with mild diarrhoea; 4 had no diarrhoea at any time, and steatorrhoea was found only in 3 of 9 cases. Over 30% of children with active coeliac disease did not have steatorrhoea at the time of diagnosis when on diets containing usual amounts of fat. Constipation was probably due to anorexia, normal or increased ileal function, and decreased intestinal motility.
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