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Constipation In Children



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

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.

Manage and 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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Constipation In Children (Ambulatory Care)

Associated drugs

Micromedex® Care Notes

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