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What causes constipation in children?

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When a child is constipated, he has less frequent bowel movements, and when he does “go,” his stool is dry, hard, and painful to pass. There are many possible causes for constipation, including:

  • Withholding stool. This means that your child is trying to hold his bowel movements in -- maybe because he’s stressed about potty training, maybe because he doesn’t want to use the toilet in certain places (like school), or maybe because he’s afraid of a painful bathroom experience. (Constipation can become a vicious cycle -- if it hurts to poop once, the child may be more fearful of going the next time.)
  • A diet that’s low in fiber or doesn’t include enough liquids (or both)
  • Side effects of certain medications

SOURCES:

Medscape: "Treatment of Childhood Constipation by Primary Care Physicians: Efficacy and Predictors of Outcome."

Deb Cloney, M.D., pediatric gastroenterologist, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Grand Rapids, Mich.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: "Constipation in Children." 

 

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 25, 2019

SOURCES:

Medscape: "Treatment of Childhood Constipation by Primary Care Physicians: Efficacy and Predictors of Outcome."

Deb Cloney, M.D., pediatric gastroenterologist, Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital, Grand Rapids, Mich.

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: "Constipation in Children." 

 

Reviewed by Dan Brennan on June 25, 2019

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How can a high-fiber diet help treat constipation in children?

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