Antibiotic-associated diarrhoea (AAD), i.e. diarrhoea as a side-effect of antibiotic therapy, affects up to 25 per cent of all patients treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics kill pathogenic bacteria in the body and thereby also affect the “good” bacteria. The balance of the gut flora gets disturbed and this imbalance may persist for a long time. The risk of AAD is increased by factors such as the intake of several different types of antibiotics over a long period of time, gastrointestinal surgery and long-term hospital stays.
The incidence of constipation among children varies between 7 and 30 per cent depending on the country. Many children with constipation have continued problems as teens and adults and consequently functional constipation is a common problem also among adults. The overall prevalence worldwide is 14 per cent, with a higher prevalence among women and the elderly. Functional constipation is present when no underlying medical disease responsible for the symptoms can be found.