Constipation is a commonly occurring condition characterized by difficulty passing bowel movements. In some cases, days pass between bowel movements. The bowel movement may be hard, dry and painful to pass.  Children may have stomach pain after eating. The most common cause of constipation is lack of dietary fiber. Other causes include dehydration, medications or illness.

How can I take care of my child?

Have your child drink lots of fluids, preferably water. Over the course of a few days, increase the fiber in your child’s diet by five grams. Sources of good fiber include fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, cereals and rice. The goal amount of fiber per day is 20-24 grams.

When to Call

Call during office hours if you have any questions or concerns.

Call our office immediately if your child:

  • is less than a month old with signs of dehydration.
  • is less than a year old with recent onset of weak cry, weak suck or weak muscles.
  • has blood in the stool or from the rectum.
  • has large bleeding from anal fissure.
  • has small bleeding from anal fissure that occurs three or more times.
  • has a fever.
  • has acute abdominal pain with persistent crying or straining.
  • has acute rectal pain.
  • has vomited more than three times in two hours.
  • has continued stool soiling of the underwear.
  • has three or more days between stools while eating a non-constipating diet.
  • has pain or cries with passage of stools three or more times.

Call 9-1-1 immediately if your child:

  • has severe difficulty breathing (struggling for each breath, making grunting noises with each breath, unable to speak or cry because of difficulty breathing or severe retractions).
  • is difficult to awaken or not alert when awake.
  • is very weak (doesn’t move or make eye contact).
  • has blue or dark purple color to the nail beds, lips, gums or face.