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Pediatric Digestive Health

Constipation in Kids

Constipation is when a child has fewer than two bowel movements in a week or passes stools that are hard, dry or lumpy. In addition, the condition is often characterized by difficulty or pain in passing stools.

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Schedule an appointment today with the pediatric experts at UH Rainbow. Call 216-844-7700.

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What is Constipation?

The condition can be short-term or long-term. Common causes of constipation include diet, illness, and withholding or changes in a child’s routine.

If left untreated, constipation can get worse. If stool stays inside the lower intestinal tract, it becomes larger, firmer and drier, and becomes more difficult and painful to pass. Your child may hold back stool because of the pain, further worsening the situation.

Further, constipation may lead to a condition call encopresis, which many parents mistake for diarrhea. Encopresis happens when only liquid can pass around an impacted stool, and leaks involuntarily out of the body.

If your child has had constipation for more than two weeks, talk with your child’s pediatrician. Constipation is a common gastrointestinal problem in children. It is one of the main reasons children are referred to specialists called pediatric gastroenterologists for diagnosis and treatment. The pediatric gastroenterologists at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital can help. 

Treatment for Constipation in Children

Your child’s pediatrician may first recommend changes in diet or bathroom habits. In some cases, the pediatrician may prescribe medicine to soften or remove the stool. After the stool is removed your child’s doctor may suggest ways you can help your child develop good bowel habits to prevent stools from backing up again.

Never give your child laxatives or enemas unless your child’s doctor advises it. They can be dangerous to children if not used properly.

UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital also offers targeted biofeedback therapy to treat elimination disorders, such as chronic constipation. Biofeedback electronically monitors body functions and is used to train patients to voluntarily control those functions. UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s is the only hospital in the region to offer these services.



Treatment for Constipation in Children

Interested in making an appointment at UH Rainbow for your child? Call 216-844-7700 for more information.