Pediatrics Constipation

Constipation is a common problem in childhood present in kids of all ages, including babies. In fact, nearly all children will experience constipation at some point though some experience it more frequently or severely than others. At our pediatric GI office, we recognize the discomfort and inconvenience constipation can cause a child. Though the condition is rarely serious, it should be treated properly to provide immediate and long-term relief for patients who suffer with it.

Did you know…

that the frequency of a child’s normal bowel movements change as they grow? For example, most babies and children under age 4 will have a bowel movement every day or at least, every other day. As they grow older, children and adolescents may begin to go less frequently, often three to five times per week. Constipation in older children is typically recognized as fewer than two to three bowel movements per week.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my child is constipated?

Constipation is typically identified by infrequent bowel movements or by bowel movements that are painful to pass. A child who is constipated may become irritable, uncomfortable and complain of abdominal pain. It is important for parents to know a child’s normal bowel habits to more easily detect changes in frequency when they occur.

What causes constipation in kids?

Diet is the most common cause of constipation children, particularly when it is low in fiber and water intake or is high in processed foods. Some children may also experience constipation if they repeatedly ignore the urge to use the restroom or if they take certain medications that are known to cause constipation. Infants who are constipated or show strain when passing a bowel movement may simply have immature rectal muscles, a condition that typically improves on its own over time.

Will my child need treatment for constipation?

Treatment for pediatric constipation will vary depending on the cause of the symptoms. Many children respond well to increased fiber and water intake while others require over-the-counter or prescription medications to find relief. A pediatric GI specialist may recommend specialized tests for children who experience chronic constipation and who do not find relief from more conservative treatment measures.