To gather current evidence on the use of fiber for constipation treatment in pediatric patients.
Systematic review with meta-analysis of studies identified through Pubmed, Embase, LILACS and Cochrane databases published up to 2016.
Randomized controlled trials; patients aged between 1 and 18 years and diagnosed with functional constipation receiving or not drug treatment for constipation; articles published in Portuguese, English, Spanish, French, and German in journals accessible to the researchers.
A total of 2963 articles were retrieved during the search and, after adequate evaluation, nine articles were considered relevant to the study objective. A total of 680 children were included, of whom 45% were boys. No statistical significance was observed for bowel movement frequency, stool consistency, therapeutic success, fecal incontinence, and abdominal pain with fiber intake in patients with childhood constipation. These results should be interpreted with care due to the high clinical heterogeneity between the studies and the methodological limitation of the articles selected for analysis.
There is a scarcity of qualified studies to evaluate fiber supplementation in the treatment of childhood constipation, generating a low degree of confidence in estimating the real effect of this intervention on this population. Today, according to the current literature, adequate fiber intake should only be recommended for functional constipation, and fiber supplementation should not be prescribed in the diet of constipated children and adolescents.