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Constipation In Children, Ambulatory Care

Constipation

is when your child has hard, dry bowel movements or goes longer than usual in between bowel movements. Constipation may be caused by new foods, not going to the bathroom often enough, or too many milk products. A lack of liquids and high-fiber foods can also cause constipation.

Common symptoms include the following:

  • Pain or crying during the bowel movement
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Nausea or full feeling
  • Liquid or solid bowel movement in your child's underwear
  • Blood on the toilet paper or bowel movement

Seek immediate care for the following symptoms:

  • Blood in your child's diaper or bowel movement
  • Swollen abdomen
  • Severe abdomen or rectal pain
  • Vomiting

Treatment for constipation

may include medicines to help soften your child's bowel movement or relax his intestines. Ask your child's healthcare provider before you give him medicines for constipation.

Manage or prevent constipation:

  • Give your child liquids as directed. Liquids help keep your child's bowel movements soft. Ask how much liquid to give your child each day and which liquids are best for him. Your child may need to drink more liquids than usual. 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. High-fiber foods include fruit, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals, and beans.
  • Help your child be active. Regular physical activity can help stimulate your child's intestines. Ask 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, 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 at least once a day. This helps relax his rectum and 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's caregivers to decide what care you want for your child. 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.

© 2016 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.

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