Constipation in children
Your child may be constipated if:3
- They have a bowel movement less than three times a week
- Their stools are often large, and/or hard and/or difficult to push out
Common causes include:
- Eating a diet that’s low in fiber – e.g. fruit, vegetables, cereals3,13
- Not drinking enough fluids3
- Emotional stress, such as starting nursery or school3,13
In much rarer cases, constipation may be caused by a medical condition.3
If your child is potty trained, soiled pants can be a sign of constipation, as softer stools can leak around hard, constipated stools. Sometimes, constipated children ignore the natural urge to go to the toilet, this is called ‘withholding’. This can make constipation even worse, so it’s important that you get help early. Talk to your doctor if you think your child is constipated.14
3. NHS. Constipation. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/constipation/. Accessed 12 Nov 2019.
13. Rajindrajith S, Devanarayana NM, Constipation in Children: Novel Insight Into Epidemiology, Pathophysiology and Management. J Neurogastroenterol Motil. 2011;17(1):35-47.
14. NHS. Constipation in young children. https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/constipation-and-soiling/. Accessed 12 Nov 2019.