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Constipation in Children

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Constipation in Children

constipation in children


Constipation is a condition in which your child experiences difficulty passing stools. It is a widespread problem among children. About 95% of constipation in children occurs because the child might be withholding stool deliberately.

Your child is more prone to constipation between the ages of 2 and 4 when toilet training starts. Constipation in children is not a severe condition and can often be treated with lifestyle changes and home remedies. Medical attention or a visit to the doctor is needed if your child’s constipation is extreme and painful.

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What are the Causes of Constipation in Children?

Children have the habit of holding in or delaying going to the toilet. Your child may become constipated from holding in their stool to avoid or delay having a bowel movement. The longer the stool stays in the colon, the more fluid it absorbs from the stool. As a result, the stool becomes dry, hard, and difficult to pass.

Your child may delay or hold stools for some of the following reasons:

  • ● The child is overweight
  • ● A diet with low fibre content
  • ● A lack of physical activity
  • ● Psychological factors like stress due to toilet training
  • ● Shyness or hesitation using a public washroom
  • ● Fear of pain while passing stool
  • ● Medication
  • ● Consuming dairy products
  • ● Any other underlying medical condition

What are the Symptoms of Constipation in Children?

The symptoms of Constipation in Children include:

  • ● Less than two to three bowel movements in seven days
  • ● Stomachache
  • ● Pain or difficulty while passing stool
  • ● Bloating
  • ● Stool with traces of blood
  • ● Traces of stool in your child’s underwear

How is Constipation in Children Diagnosed?

Your doctor will ask you about your child’s health in general and the symptoms. Your doctor will also physically examine your child and may need more information about:

  • ● The age at which your child had his or her first bowel movement
  • ● Frequency of bowel movements
  • ● Whether you are toilet training your child
  • ● Food habits of your child
  • ● Possible stressful events

Based on the initial assessment, your doctor may recommend further tests if the constipation is severe. Some of them are:

  • X-ray: An x-ray of the abdomen to check for blockages in the digestive tract.
  • A blood test: To check for other medical conditions.
  • A biopsy: Biopsy to check for abnormalities in the cells. A small tissue sample is taken from the rectum and sent to a pathologist.

How is Constipation in Children Treated?

After carefully evaluating the severity of constipation, your doctor may recommend the following treatment methods:

  • An enema or laxative: If your child has a blockage in the abdomen, your doctor may prescribe a laxative or enema to unblock. If the constipation is extremely severe, your doctor will suggest that the enema be given at the hospital. Your child will be hospitalised for a couple of hours and discharged after the bowel is cleared.

What are the Complications Associated With Constipation in Children Treatment?

If your child has chronic constipation, you should not ignore it because it may lead to some of the following complications:

  • ● Anal fissures
  • ● Rectal prolapse
  • ● Leakage of stool from the colon and rectum, also known as encopresis


The results of the treatment of constipation in children are positive. As a parent, your child’s health is in your hands. However, despite your best efforts to keep your child healthy, sometimes stomach ailments can take your little one by surprise. Constipation in children can be quite distressing because it can hinder your child’s ability to play, attend school, and socialize with others. By being aware of the causes, symptoms, and treatment for constipation, you can make an informed decision to help your child.

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What is a Normal Bowel Movement in Children and Infants?

Regular bowel movements may be different for every child. Typically, breastfed infants have more frequent bowel movements than formula-fed infants. Your child’s stool may get firmer, and the bowel movements less frequent as they start eating solid food. Normal bowel movements in children may vary from thrice a day to thrice a week.

What can you give a Child for Constipation?

For mild Constipation, you can give your child prune juice to help clear the bowel. Prune juice is a natural laxative. However, it may not taste that great. Mix it with other fruit juices like apple or grape so that your child likes its taste.

Do Bananas Help Prevent Constipation?

Banana is a high-fibre fruit useful in relieving and preventing Constipation in children and adults.

Can a Child take a Stool Softener?

Yes, a stool softener is safe for children and helps relieve Constipation.  However, you should make sure that you follow the dosage prescribed by your paediatrician.

Which Ayurvedic Medicine is Helpful for Constipation In Children?

Triphala is an effective ayurvedic remedy for Constipation In Children. Pour about half to one teaspoon of Triphala in a cup of warm water. Let it steep for 10 minutes before giving it to your child.

Does Ghee (Clarified Butter) Reduce Constipation In Children?

Ghee is a natural laxative and can effectively resolve Constipation issues. A mixture of half a teaspoon of ghee and warm milk can help relieve your child’s Constipation.

Can Milk Cause Constipation in Children?

Some children may not be able to digest cow’s milk. In such cases, milk can worsen your child’s constipation. If your child is constipated, you should stop giving them milk for a few days.

Can Constipation Cause Nausea?

Some children with Constipation may experience nausea and vomiting. Chronic Constipation can cause toxins to accumulate in the body and lead to a queasy stomach. Visit your doctor if your child’s discomfort persists.

Can Chronic Constipation Stunt Growth in Children?

In a 2008 research published in the prestigious Nature journal, researchers found that chronic Constipation can stunt growth in children. The same study also suggests that adequate treatment for constipation can foster growth.

What Problems can Long-term Constipation Cause?

Chronic Constipation can cause severe complications such as anal fissure, hemorrhoids, rectal prolapse, and faecal impaction. If your child has persistent Constipation, you should consider adding fiber to his diet through food or supplements.
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