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Conditions

Constipation

Constipation

Constipation is a common condition in kids and there can be many different causes – emotional as well as physical. As a parent, the problem is easy enough to spot in babies and young children, but older kids may be reluctant to admit they have constipation. Awkward and uncomfortable though it is, constipation itself is rarely a symptom of anything more serious, and with a few changes in lifestyle or diet, it’s usually easily treated.

The first thing to note is there is no such thing as a completely ‘normal’ toilet habit. Some children poo two or three times a day. For some it’s once a day, or even every other day. Constipation means they find gong to the toilet difficult or painful, and when they do go, they only manage to pass a few small, hard stools. It’s often accompanied by tummy ache, a lack of energy and being in a bad mood. In babies and young children constipation can actually appear as diarrhoea, as the bowel gets overloaded and causes kids to soil themselves.

So what causes constipation? One of the commonest reasons is a lack of fibre in the diet or being dehydrated. It can also be that, for a variety of reasons, children deliberately resist going to the toilet when they need to. If they are away from home or in an unfamiliar environment (at school for example), if they recently found going to the toilet particularly painful, or if there’s some other form of anxiety associated with defecating, kids may deliberately ‘keep it in’.

Short term or temporary constipation usually passes naturally, but the condition can be eased by making sure your child has plenty of fibre in their diet (lots of fresh fruit and veg, pasta, rice and potatoes, and a regular intake of fluid will generally keep constipation at bay.) If the condition is chronic – ie, it lasts a long time – your doctor can prescribe a course of laxatives. As parents, the key is to keep an eye on your child’s toilet habits and take note of any significant changes.

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My daughter had just turned 3. About 7 months ago she starting holding her poo in. Doc put her on movicol where either did nothing or if we upped it, the poo would run out of her, also giving her pain. She's now on lactolose which seem to be working at the moment. We are having the problem of trying to get her to fully go. She just wants to do a little bit and 10 mins later she's trying to poo again. Any ideas?





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My son is 12. He has been constipated since he was 6wks old. I have left the gp today on tears! He is up all noght woth severe stomach cramps, had a mucusy loose stool on Sunday, but nothing since.sick yest (monday) he has 1 or 2 sachets of Movocol every day for the last yr, raising it to up to 6 sachets when it gets severe. He hasn't got the best diet due to poor appetite. But as a baby I made all the boys baby food ie: veg mashed with potatoes, fruit puddings etc. They are determined they are not going to refer him anywhere other than a child doctor who jas more time to support us!!! Patronising or what?? X





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My daughter is 2years and 5 months and has had constipation for months, recently it's got so bad her quality of life is really affected. I've been in tears just feeling helpless! She eats so much fruit and wholemeal bread-if she has any at all- drinks nothing but water, apart from a bottle of (cows) milk at bedtime. I'm at the end of my tether. She stands with her hands on her lower back, stood rigid still, crying and saying poo mummy, please mummy. My heart is breaking. We've been given a bottle of lactulose which we give her. She does sometimes go and they seem a normal stool but not often but she seems to be constantly distressed! I'm so worried that she's got something more sinister going on. Has this happened to anyone else?





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Hi im now 27 and when I was about 8 I started getting contistipated but it was my own fault because I would hold it in it went on for years and wouldnt go to the toilet I was getting the urge to go the toilet every 15 mins but I wouldnt go as I knew it was going to hurt so I held it in I would permantly have stomach craps but I just learned to deal with it and I got so bad that I would constently smell off poo and It wasnt nice in school when u smell off poo aswell and I went for an x ray and I was just full in side and the doctors told my parents thst if I didnt go to the toliet then it would come out the other end in the end when I was about 14 they got the nurse out and I had to have an enema and I can still hold my poo in to this day but I make sure that I go everyday





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My daughter is 2 1/2. she has not had a poo for a week even though she eats lots of fruit veg ceareals. but during the week she has been sick in the nite 3times and not even known about it till she wakes up. and I find it strange that I had not heard her cos I wake with every noise. she was last sick sat nite and managed to have a poo Sunday morn twice. but she has gone off her food and drink. she does not seem to look ill but she was quiet Sunday but perked up today and she saying she is fine.





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My son is 8 years old. He has been severely constipated his entire life (not exaggerating. For the first few years we were told he will out grow it. Try this, try that enemas, children's laxatives, suppositories etc. Nothing helped, they prescribed a white powder to mix in his drinks, this helped but the moment he goes off of it we have to start all over again. He has gone almost 2 weeks without going then I have to perform an enema. Not to be gross but when he does go his stuff is seriously the size of an adults forearm. I don't know how something that size could pass through an adult let alone a child. He is in agony up until the point that he goes. He has had xrays and it shows he is clearly backed up to his chest. What is going on with my child. Doctors don't seem overly concerned but I am. I can tell when its been more than two days he gets sluggish and grouchy. Is there any hope of normal for him, any suggestions?????





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I am having the exact same issue with my son. I feel your frustration. I'm finally getting another referral to a pediatric gastroenterologist hopefully this one will do a proper examination. I hope you get some answers soon as well.

Hi, my daughter age 6 1/2 has suffered with mild constipation for a while and the last few months has been on Lactulose. Its not working as well as it could so we changed to Movocol; been using it for 2 days and today she emptied her bowels easily with large soft stools but one had a spot of bright blood on the end. Could it be due to the Movocol or something serious? Shes not unwell and not sore either. Any suggestions as to what may have caused tbe blood would be greatly received.





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My son has had issues his whole life (he's 8) he has had bleeding due to the strain of being constipated.To be on the safe side I would call your doctor.

My daughter is 2 nearly 3 in March she has been struggling with her bowels since 3months of age she will raise her knees up to her chest and scream in pain, stomach cramps, bloating, gas, bad mood, irratible, loss of appetite, so went to doctors got laxatives movicol which she ended up in A&E allergic reaction, seen paediatricians got more laxatives tried lactolouse which didn't do anything, been seen by gut specialist and got put back on movicol she took another allergic reaction so went onto lactolouse again 10mls twice a day which cleared her for 2 days then stopped working no matter how much we gave her it even got up to 10 mls 3 times a day still nothing we have tried in over 2 years movicol, lactolouse, ducolax, senna and 2 other ones can't remember there names nothing helps just makes her worse tried diary free diet, lacto free diet, gluten free diet never helped tried syrup of figs, prunes, prune juice, pure juices, more fruit, more water, more veg, flax seed, probiotics still nothing helps now the specialist says give her lactolouse 10mls 3 times a day and ducolax 10 mls 3 times a day but I thought this is a it much and then got told by another professional do t give her that much so I thought it might be colic as she suffered with it very badly as a baby so gave her colief drops and within 24hours her stools went from hard to soft, more happier, better appetite , sleeps, not much gas cramps but she still has bloating and some pain when pushing she's passing stools the size of grapes about 2 to 3 times a day her bottom is red raw and very painful no matter how much cream we put on her we even gave lacto free diet along with drops and are still doing that now but it seems like the pain is getting abit more bad like it used to be can someone please help me I do t know what else to do she also has autism





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We found a diaper cream in Mexico called bebe..works better than anything else for a sore bottom.

Get your child to drink more water before food in the morning when he wakes up and try investing on natural detoxifying fruits like papaya, watermellon and include more fiber food . Consult your doctor if symptoms persist .

My lil boy is 20 months and as bin struggling to do a poo for past 4-5 days however today he has been being sick aswell I was wondering if the 2 are linked and if so what should I do about it





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My son is 3 and has been constipated for four months, he is still on a course of movicol, and there have been no significant changes to his diet. My greatest issue is even whilst on this medication he has been withholding and making mess in his pants several times throughout the day. Trying to talk with him results in the mother of all tantrums on his part, I am not sure where else to turn and what else to try. We have also tried (and are continuing to use) reward charts and lactulose. From the discussions with my doctor we believe the issue arose when he started a new nursery, I was abroad and unfortunately my partner was away at a funeral. I can't bare the thought we have caused this, and I'm looking everywhere I can for help to getting him back to his regular habits.





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Content supplied by NHS Choices

Constipation is a very common condition that affects people of all ages. It can mean that you are not passing stools (faeces) as often as you normally do, or you have to strain more than usual, or you are unable to completely empty your bowels. Read More »