Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences

Document Type : Original Article(s)


1 Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine, Namazi Teaching Hospital, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

2 Student Research Committee, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

3 Department of Tissue Engineering, School of Advanced Medical Sciences and Technologies, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

4 Gastroenterohepatology Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran

5 Anesthesiology and Critical Care Research Center, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz,

6 Department of Pediatrics Gastroenterology, School of Medicine, Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran



Background: There have been few studies on the effect of Kegel exercises on the treatment of functional constipation in children. Hence, the present study investigated the add-on role of Kegel exercises in children with functional constipation.
Methods: This clinical trial was conducted on children with functional constipation, according to Rome IV, who were referred to the pediatric department of Imam Reza Clinic (Shiraz, Iran) in 2022. The sample consisted of 64 children who were randomly assigned to either the intervention or the control groups. In the control group, a pediatrician administered conventional therapy, including diet training, defecation training, and polyethylene glycol (PEG) syrup (0.7 g/Kg daily). In the treatment group, in addition to conventional therapy, a pediatrician taught Kegel exercises to the child both verbally and in writing in the presence of their parents. To investigate the effectiveness of the intervention, frequency of defecation, defecation time, assistance used for defecation, incomplete emptying, unsuccessful defecation, abdominal pain, and painful defecation were selected as the outcomes. Independent sample t test was used for continuous variables. Categorical variables were reported as frequency and percentages. To examine the difference in categorical outcome variables, Wilcoxon (pre and post), Chi square, and Fisher exact tests were used. Data were analyzed using SPSS software version 21. P<0.05 were considered statistically significant.
Results: Twenty-seven (88.4%) patients in the Kegel exercise group reported a defecation time of less than 5 min, while only 12 (37.5%) patients in the control group reached this time, and this difference was statistically significant (P=0.001). Moreover, patients in the treatment group showed significant improvements in terms of incomplete emptying of stool, unsuccessful defecation, abdominal pain, and painless defecation (P=0.001, P=0.001, P=0.001, P=0.037, respectively). After intervention, the use of laxatives, digits, or enemas to assist defecation was not significantly different between the groups (P=0.659).
Conclusion: Kegel exercise was an effective adjunctive treatment for pediatric functional constipation.
Trial registration number: IRCT20230424057984N1.


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