Constipation in Children

What is constipation?

constipation is when a child has very hard stools, and has fewer intestine movements than he or she normally does. It is a very common GI ( gastrointestinal ) problem .
Signs that a child has constipation include :

  • Having fewer bowel movements than normal. Constipation is often defined as having fewer than 3 bowel movements a week. The number of bowel movements may be different for each child. But a change in what is normal for your child may mean there is a problem.
  • Passing stool that is hard and sometimes large
  • Having bowel movements that are difficult or painful to push out

What causes constipation?

Stool gets unvoiced and dry when the large intestine ( colon ) takes in ( absorb ) besides much water .
normally, as food moves through the colon, the colon absorb water while it makes stool. muscle movements ( contractions ) push the stool toward the rectum. When the stool gets to the rectum, most of the body of water has been soaked up. The stool is now upstanding.

If your child has constipation, the colon ‘s muscle movements are besides slowly. This makes the stool move through the colon excessively lento. The colon absorbs besides much water. The stool gets very hard and dry .
once a child become constipated, the problem can promptly get worse. Hard, dry stools can be atrocious to push out. So the child may stop using the bathroom because it hurts. Over fourth dimension, the colon will not be able to sense that stool is there .
There are many reasons why a child may become constipated. Some common diet and life style causes include :


  • Eating too many foods that are high in fat and low in fiber. These include fast foods, junk foods, and soft drinks.
  • Not drinking enough water and other fluids
  • Having a change in diet. This includes when babies change from breastmilk to formula, or when they start eating solid foods.

Lack of exercise

  • Children who watch a lot of TV and play video games don’t get enough exercise. Exercise helps move digested food through the intestines.

Emotional issues

  • Not wanting to use public bathrooms. Children may then hold in their bowel movements, causing constipation.
  • Going through toilet training. This can be a difficult time for many toddlers.
  • Having power struggles with parents. Toddlers may hold in their bowel movements on purpose.
  • Feeling stressed because of school, friends, or family

Busy children

  • Some children don’t pay attention to signals that their body gives them to have a bowel movement. This can happen when children are too busy playing. They forget to go to the bathroom.
  • Constipation can also be a problem when starting a new school year. Children can’t go to the bathroom whenever they feel the need. They have to change their bowel routine.

Underlying physical problem

In rare cases, stultification can be caused by a larger physical problem. These physical issues can include :

  • Problems of the intestinal tract, rectum, or anus
  • Nervous system problems, such as cerebral palsy
  • Endocrine problems, such as hypothyroidism
  • Certain medicines, such as iron supplements, some antidepressants, and narcotics such as codeine

What are the symptoms of constipation?

Symptoms can occur a act differently in each child. They may include :

  • Not having a bowel movement for a few days
  • Passing hard, dry stools
  • Having belly (abdominal) bloating, cramps, or pain
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Showing signs of trying to hold stool in, such as clenching teeth, crossing legs, squeezing buttocks together, turning red in the face
  • Small liquid or soft stool marks on a child’s underwear

The symptoms of stultification can be like other health conditions. Make surely your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis .

How is constipation diagnosed?

The healthcare supplier will ask about your child ’ south symptoms and health history. He or she will give your child a physical examination. Depending on how old your child is, you might be asked questions such as :

  • How old was your baby when he or she had their first stool?
  • How often does your child have a bowel movement?
  • Does your child complain of pain when having a bowel movement?
  • Have you been trying to toilet train your toddler lately?
  • What foods does your child eat?
  • Have there been any stressful events in your child’s life lately?
  • How often does your child poop in his or her pants?

Your child ’ second supplier may besides want to do some tests to see if there are any problems. These tests may include :

  • Digital rectal examination (DRE). Your child’s provider puts a gloved, greased (lubricated) finger into your child’s rectum. The provider will feel for anything abnormal.
  • Abdominal X-ray. This test checks how much stool is in the large intestine.
  • Barium enema. This is an X-ray exam of the rectum, the large intestine, and the lower part of the small intestine. Your child will be given a metallic fluid called barium. Barium coats the organs so they can be seen on an X-ray. The barium is put into a tube and inserted into your child’s rectum as an enema. An X-ray of the belly will show if your child has any narrowed areas (strictures), blockages (obstructions), or other problems.
  • Anorectal manometry. This test checks the strength of the muscles in the anus and the nerve reflexes. It also checks your child’s ability to sense that the rectum is full (rectal distension) and a bowel movement is needed. And it looks at how well the muscles work together during a bowel movement.
  • Rectal biopsy. This test takes a sample of the cells in the rectum. They are checked under a microscope for any problems.
  • Sigmoidoscopy. This test checks the inside of part of the large intestine. It helps to find out what is causing diarrhea, belly pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. A short, flexible, lighted tube (sigmoidoscope) is put into your child’s intestine through the rectum. This tube blows air into the intestine to make it swell. This makes it easier to see inside.
  • Colorectal transit study. This test shows how well food moves through your child’s colon. The child swallows pills (capsules) filled with small markers that can be seen on an X-ray. The child eats a high-fiber diet for the next few days. X-rays will be taken 3 to 7 days after your child takes the pills. The X-rays will show how the pills moved through the colon.
  • Colonoscopy. This test looks at the full length of the large intestine. It can help check for abnormal growths, red or swollen tissue, sores (ulcers), and bleeding. The test uses a long, flexible, lighted tube (colonoscope). The tube is put into your child’s rectum up into the colon. This tube lets the provider see the lining of the colon and take out a tissue sample (biopsy) to test it. The provider may also be able to treat some problems that are found.
  • Lab testing. Several tests may be done. These include tests to check for issues such as celiac disease, urinary tract infection, thyroid  problems, metabolic problems, and blood lead level.

How is constipation treated?

treatment will depend on your child ’ randomness symptoms, age, and general health. It will besides depend on how dangerous the condition is .
discussion may include diet and life style changes, such as :

Diet changes

often making changes in your child ‘s diet will help constipation. Help your child to eat more character by :

  • Adding more fruits and vegetables
  • Adding more whole-grain cereals and breads. Check the nutrition labels on food packages for foods that have more fiber.

Moderate fiber
High fiber
wheaten boodle, granola boodle, wheat bran muffins, whole-grain waffles, popcorn


Bran cereals, shredded wheat, oatmeal, granola, oat bran
100 % bran grain

Read more: ED

Beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, corn, green beans, green pea, acorn and butternut squash, spinach, potato with skin, avocado


Apples with peel, dates, papaya, mangoes, nectarines, oranges, pears, kiwi, strawberries, applesauce, raspberries, blackberries, raisins
Cooked prunes, dried figs
Meat substitutes
Peanut butter, nuts
bake beans, black-eyed peas, chickpea beans, lima beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, chili with beans, lead mix
other diet changes that may help include :

  • Having your child drink more fluids, especially water
  • Limiting fast foods and junk foods that are often high in fats. Offer more well-balanced meals and snacks instead.
  • Limiting drinks with caffeine, such as soda and tea
  • Limiting whole milk as directed by your child’s healthcare provider

It ’ south besides a thoroughly mind to have your child eat meals on a regular schedule. Eating a meal will frequently cause a intestine motion within 30 to 60 minutes. Serve breakfast early. This will give your child time to have a intestine movement at home before rushing off to school .

Get more exercise

Having your child get more exert can besides help with stultification. exercise helps with digestion. It helps the normal movements the intestines make to push food forth as it is digested. People who don ’ triiodothyronine move around much are frequently constipated. Have your child go outside and play preferably than watch television receiver or do early indoor activities .

Good bowel habits

Try to get your child into a even toilet habit. Have your child baby-sit on the toilet at least doubly a day for at least 10 minutes. Try to do this barely after a meal. Be sure to make this a pleasant time. Don ’ triiodothyronine get harebrained at your child for not having a intestine movement. Use a honor system to make it fun. Give stickers or early small treats. Or make posters that show your child ‘s progress .
In some cases these changes may not help. Or your child ’ south healthcare supplier may detect another trouble. If then, the supplier may recommend using laxatives, fecal matter softeners, or an enema. These products should only be used if recommended by your child ‘s provider. Do not use them without talking with your child ‘s provider first .

What are the complications of constipation?

Hard stools can irritate or tear the lining of the anus (anal fissures). This makes it painful to have a bowel movement. Your child may avoid having a bowel movement because it hurts. This can make constipation get worse.

Can constipation be prevented?

Hard stools can irritate or tear the lining of the anus ( anal fissures ). This makes it atrocious to have a intestine movement. Your child may avoid having a intestine campaign because it hurts. This can make constipation get worse. stultification can be prevented by figuring out the times when it may occur, and making proper changes .
For case, when babies start to eat firm food, constipation can result. This is because they don ’ t have enough fiber in their modern diet. You can add fiber to your baby ’ sulfur diet by giving puree vegetables and fruits. Or try wheaten or multigrain cereals .
stultification can besides happen during toilet train. Children who do not like using a regular toilet may hold in their stool. This causes constipation .
All children should get the mighty amount of character and fluids. other preventive measures include making sure your child has :

  • Regular access to a bathroom
  • Enough time to use the toilet
  • Regular physical exercise

The lapp changes that can help treat stultification may besides help to stop it from happening.

Living with constipation

Constipation can be either short-term (acute) or long-term (chronic). Children with intestinal diseases may have chronic constipation problems. But in most cases, constipation is a short-term condition.If your child has chronic constipation, work with his or her healthcare provider. Together you can create a care plan that is right for your child.

When should I call my child’s healthcare provider?

constipation can be either short-run ( acute ) or long-run ( chronic ). Children with intestinal diseases may have chronic constipation problems. But in most cases, constipation is a short-run condition.If your child has chronic constipation, workplace with his or her healthcare provider. together you can create a manage plan that is right for your child. Call your child ‘s healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about your child ‘s intestine habits or patterns. talk with your child ‘s supplier if your child :

  • Is constipated for more than 2 weeks
  • Can’t do normal activities because of constipation
  • Can’t get a stool out with normal pushing
  • Has liquid or soft stool leaking out of the anus
  • Has small, painful tears in the skin around the anus (anal fissures)
  • Has red, swollen veins (hemorrhoids) in the rectum
  • Has belly pain, fever, or vomiting

Key points about constipation

  • Constipation is when a child has very hard stools, and has fewer bowel movements than they normally do.
  • Constipation can be caused by a child’s diet, lack of exercise, or emotional issues.
  • Once a child becomes constipated, the problem can quickly get worse.
  • Making diet and lifestyle changes can help treat and help prevent constipation.
  • Never give your child an enema, laxative, or stool softener unless the healthcare provider recommends this.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s health care provider:

  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • At the visit, write down the names of new medicines, treatments, or tests, and any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
  • If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your child’s provider after office hours. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child ’ s health care provider :

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