Constipation in Children – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment


Constipation or constipation is a condition where a person cannot defecate regularly. Although constipation is something that doesn’t happen often, some individuals can experience chronic or prolonged constipation. In general, a person can be considered to have constipation when defecating less than three times a week.

Causes of Constipation

The cause of constipation in a person can be more than one factor. For example, lack of drinking, lack of fiber consumption, changes in diet, and habits of ignoring the desire to defecate, side effects of drugs, and mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.

While for children, poor diet, anxiety when using the toilet, and problems when using the toilet can be a cause of constipation.

For information, chronic constipation has several possible causes, including:

  • Disorders in muscles involved in defecation. Disorders of the pelvic floor muscles that contribute to bowel movements can cause chronic constipation. This problem can include relaxation difficulties in the pelvic floor muscles that help with the process of defecation, difficulty in pelvic muscles to coordinate relaxation and muscle contraction, and increased weakness of the pelvic floor muscles.
  • Conditions that affect hormones in the body. Hormones help maintain fluid balance in the body. Diseases and conditions that interfere with hormonal balance can cause constipation, including diabetes, hyperparathyroidism, and hypothyroidism.
  • Nerve disorders around the large intestine and rectum. Neurological disorders can affect innervation which causes muscle contraction in the large intestine and stool movement through the intestine. This can be caused by stroke, spinal cord injury, and several other neurological disorders.

Constipation symptoms

The main symptom of constipation is the difficulty of defecating with a frequency that is less frequent than usual (less than three times a week). While a number of common signs accompanying the main symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain and bloating.
  • Bleeding when defecating.
  • BAB in pants.
  • Chasing when defecating.

Sometimes constipated children can experience diarrhea so this will confuse parents. What happens here is that the presence of solid feces that is trapped in the rectum, and rather fluid stools can pass around dense stools.

Constipation is also often experienced by babies with symptoms similar to adults. But there are several other symptoms that may be experienced by children and infants, such as often removing patches in pants because feces that accumulate in the rectum, feces or foul-smelling farts, and tend to look weak, fussy or moody.

The following are some of the causes of constipation in children:

  • Postpone defecation. This means that the child is trying to hold the defecation â € “maybe because he does not want to use the toilet in certain places or maybe because he has a painful experience about the bathroom.
  • Low fiber diet.
  • Side effects of certain drugs.

Treatment of Constipation

There are three main treatments that can be done to treat constipation:

  • Stool softener medicine.

This method is safe for children, but must be used under the supervision of a pediatrician. The common mistake of parents who use stool softeners for constipation is not to use a large enough dose, or stop it too quickly. For example, you might think that you can stop giving a stool softener after a bowel movement first seems normal, but stopping that too quickly can actually bring other problems to your child.

Some children may need to keep using the stool softener for several weeks. Doctors can advise on the right dosage schedule for children.

  • A diet high in fiber with lots of fluids.

Consume lots of fruits, vegetables, high-fiber cereals, whole-grain bread (at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving), and various nuts. In addition, foods that contain probiotics such as yogurt, can also improve good digestive health. That should be noted, if your child eats a lot of fiber-rich foods but doesn’t get enough fluids, you can make matters worse. The child must drink plenty of water throughout the day, along with a few glasses of milk. Limit sweet drinks to 4 ounces a day for children who have not gone to school and 6-8 ounces for school-age children.

  • Regular toilet time.

Encourage your child to use the toilet in the morning and after eating. Especially for younger children, you might get better results by just telling your child lightly, don’t force or ask.

To get the best results, you can combine these three approaches. A high-fiber diet is unlikely to resolve cases of constipation without the help of stool softeners; on the other hand, after your child stops using a stool softener, and he stays on a low-fiber diet and doesn’t get enough healthy fluids, the problem may occur again.