Constipation In Children

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:

Constipation is when your child has hard, dry bowel movements or goes longer than usual in between bowel movements.

AFTER YOU LEAVE:

Medicines:

Ask your child's primary healthcare provider before you give him any of the following medicines:

  • Fiber supplements: This medicine helps decrease your child's constipation by adding bulk and softness to his bowel movements.

  • Bowel movement softeners: This medicine softens your child's bowel movement.

  • Laxatives: This medicine helps your child's intestines relax and loosen.

  • Give your child's medicine as directed: Call your child's healthcare provider if you think the medicine is not working as expected. Tell him if your child is allergic to any medicine. Keep a current list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs your child takes. Include the amounts, and when, how, and why they are taken. Bring the list or the medicines in their containers to follow-up visits. Carry your child's medicine list with you in case of an emergency. Throw away old medicine lists.

Follow up with your child's healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your child's visits.

Help manage your child's constipation:

  • Increase the amount of liquids your child drinks: Liquids can help keep your child's bowel movements soft. Limit sports drinks, soda, and other caffeinated drinks.

  • Feed your child a variety of high-fiber foods: This may help decrease constipation by adding bulk and softness to your child's bowel movements. Healthy foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meat, and fish. Ask your child's primary healthcare provider for more information about a high-fiber diet.

  • Help your child be active: Regular physical activity can help stimulate your child's intestines. Talk to your child's primary healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for your child.

  • Set up a regular time each day for your child to have a bowel movement: This may help train your child's body to have regular bowel movements. Help him to sit on the toilet for at least 10 minutes at the same time each day, even if he does not have a bowel movement. Do not pressure your young child to have a bowel movement.

  • Give your child a warm bath: A warm bath at least once a day can help relax his rectum. This can make it easier for him to have a bowel movement.

Contact your child's primary healthcare provider if:

  • It has been longer than usual between your child's bowel movements.

  • Your child has an upset stomach.

  • You have any questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You see blood in your child's diaper or bowel movement.

  • Your child's abdomen is swollen.

  • Your child does not want to eat or drink.

  • Your child has severe abdomen or rectal pain.

  • Your child is vomiting.

© 2014 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Constipation In Children (Discharge Care)

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