Constipation is a common problem in which a child may have fewer bowel movements (BMs or poops) than usual. It usually isn't a cause for too much concern.
Constipation can often be remedied and prevented with the three Fs: fluids, fiber, and fitness.
Signs and Symptoms
- fewer bowel movements than usual
- straining and pain during bowel movements
- stool (poop) that's hard, dry
- larger stools than usual
- feeling full or bloated
- abdominal (belly) pain
- a little blood on the toilet paper after a BM
What to Do
- Give your child plenty of water or juice. If your baby is constipated, ask the doctor about adding prune, apple, or pear juice to the daily diet.
- Increase the fiber in your child's diet. Try apples, pears, oranges, beans, popcorn, oatmeal, and whole-grain breakfast cereals or breads.
- Encourage daily exercise to encourage bowel movements.
- Talk to your doctor before giving your child any medicine for constipation.
Seek Medical Care
If Your Child Has:
- constipation lasting a week
- liquid stool in the underwear when your child isn't sick
- abdominal (belly) pain
- loss of appetite
Skip fatty, sugary, or starchy foods, which can slow the bowels down. Choose fiber-rich foods instead and make sure they're washed thoroughly. Also, making sure kids are active every day will help keep their bowels moving, too.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014
|AAP Pediatric Referral Department Use this website to find a pediatrician in your area or to find general health information for parents from birth through age 21.|
|American Academy of Family Physicians This site, operated by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), provides information on family physicians and health care, a directory of family physicians, and resources on health conditions.|
|North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN) NASPGHAN works to help children and adolescents with digestive disorders.|
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|How Can I Tell if My Baby Is Constipated? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|How Do You Treat Pregnancy Hemorrhoids and Constipation? Find out what the experts have to say.|
|Fiber and Your Child Many appetizing foods are also good sources of fiber - from fruits to whole-grain cereals. Here are ways to help kids get more fiber in their everyday diets.|
|A to Z Symptoms: Abdominal Pain Abdominal pain is common and, most of the time, doesn't have a serious cause.|
|Constipation Constipation is a very common problem among kids, and it usually occurs because a child's diet doesn't include enough fluids and fiber. In most cases, simple changes can help kids go.|
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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