Constipation in Children
June 27, 2016 § Leave a comment
As owner of Collin County Pediatrics, Dr. Jay Schwartz offers compassionate care when treating the illnesses and injuries of childhood. Dr. Jay Schwartz also upholds a commitment to educating parents about common childhood health concerns, such as constipation.
Constipation can occur in children for a number of reasons. Sometimes, it stems from the child’s intentional avoidance of bowel movements, which may in turn be a result of potty training anxiety or other psychological distress surrounding use of the toilet.
Children may also become constipated due to dehydration or a lack of fiber in the diet. Changes to the child’s diet can disrupt the system and bring on constipation, as can a lack of appetite due to illness. Certain illnesses, such as hypothyroidism, directly contribute to constipation, while other illnesses require medication that disrupts the digestive system.
A child with constipation may complain that it hurts to pass stool, or that his or her stomach hurts. He or she may squirm and clench the buttocks in an effort to keep from having a bowel movement, as the stool has become painful to pass. As feces back up in the intestinal tract, the child may appear to soil his or her underwear, as liquid stool leaks around hardened feces inside the child’s rectum.
Most cases of constipation in children are treatable through a combination of dietary fiber, stool softeners, and regular use of the bathroom. However, parents should ensure that their child’s pediatrician consults on any potential treatment plan.