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Constipation In Children


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


Return to the emergency department 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.

Contact your child's healthcare provider if:

  • Management tips do not help your child have regular bowel movements.
  • It has been longer than usual between your child's bowel movements.
  • Your child has bowel movements that are hard or painful to pass.
  • Your child has an upset stomach.
  • You have any questions or concerns about your child's condition or care.

Help manage your child's constipation:

  • Increase the amount of liquids your child drinks. Liquids can help keep your child's bowel movements soft. Ask how much liquid your child needs to drink and what liquids are best for him. 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 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 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.

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.

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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.