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What is Constipation?
Constipation is defined as less than three bowel movements per week and/or hard and painful bowel movements with soiling or abdominal pain.1
Signs of Children’s Constipation
- Children who produce stools that look like pebbly rabbit droppings are constipated.
- Toddlers who routinely strain to pass hard stools may be constipated.
- Stool accidents may also be signs of constipation in a child.
- In a child who is toilet trained, holding stools may also be a sign of constipation.
- A protruding abdomen and a decrease in appetite may be signs that a child of any age is constipated.
- Having pain during a bowel movement is also a sign of constipation.
Constipation in Pediatric Patients
- 25-30 percent of young children struggle with constipation.2
- Research shows children with chronic constipation have a worse quality of life than those with more serious medical conditions like inflammatory bowel disease and gastro-esophageal reflux disease.3
- A recent European study published in the journal Pediatrics showed that 25 percent of children with the condition continue to have symptoms as adults. Researchers believe the numbers in the United States may be similar, if not worse.4
- Constipation increases the risk of urinary tract infections.5
Make sure your child is drinking enough liquids. (Be careful not to exceed recommendations, as too much fluid can be harmful.)
- Prune, pear, and apple juice all contain sorbitol. Mix juices with equivalent amounts of water.
- Increase the opportunities for your child to be physically active.
- Increase the amount of fiber to your children’s diet.
If increasing fiber doesn’t help, talk to your pediatrician about other options and to see if Docusol® Kids is the right solution for your youngster. Always consult your pediatrician.
Constipation in Children with Disabilities
Why does an established bowel care program matter?
- Chronic constipation is a common problem in children with disabilities and should be addressed effectively at an early stage in their multidisciplinary management.
- Cerebral Palsy: Fecal incontinence or encopresis, and constipation are common bowel and bladder problems among adults or children with cerebral palsy.2
- Spina Bifida: Due to nerve damage between the spinal cord and the bowel system, bowel incontinence and constipation is associated with spina bifida.3
- Constipation is often associated with bouts of diarrhea, because the soft and runny stools that are stuck above the “hard stools” that cause constipation cannot be processed by the bowel properly, and will flow around the hard material causing a bout of diarrhea.3
- Chronic constipation also stretches the bowel and leads to weakened sensation. This stretching can take years to get back to normal.3
Disclaimer: The materials contained on this website are for reference purposes only. Always consult your pediatrician for healthcare questions. Alliance Labs and Summit Pharmaceuticals do not assume responsibility for patient care or the accuracy of the processes presented. All rights reserved. Copyright
1. “Constipation.” Constipation. Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Oct. 2012. Web. 17 Dec. 2015. http://www.chkd.org/Patients-and-Families/Health-Library/Way-to-Grow/Constipation
2. Chronic constipation easy to overlook, hurts children, Published: Monday, October 15, 2012, 8:00 PM. http://www.cleveland.com/healthfit/index.ssf/2012/ 10/chronic_constipation_easy_to_o.html
3. Plugged Up: Doctors See Signs of Worsening Constipation in Children, October 25, 2010; http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/Plugged-Up-Doctors-See- Signs-of-Worsening-Constipation-in-Children.aspx
3. Nelson R, Wagget J, Lennard-Jones J. Constipation and megacolon in children and adults. In: Diseases of the Gut and Pancreas. Blackwell Scientific, 1994: 843–864