Why Is Constipation In Children Common?

While adults can sometimes suffer from bouts of uncomfortable constipation, constipation in children can sometimes be a more common and challenging problem.

Dealing effectively with the problem starts by knowing how you should diagnose the problem.

Noticing Constipation in Children

One of the biggest mistakes we make as parents when dealing with constipation in children is waiting until the problem is causing our child pain or bloating before we take action.

Chances are good that your child has been showing symptoms of the problem for a while but it went unnoticed.

Some people think constipation in children only occurs if the child is going without bowel movements but that’s not the case.

If your child is having less than three bowel movements per week or if those bowel movements are very difficult for your child, he or she may have a problem that needs to be addressed.

Dietary changes

Most of the time, constipation in children is connected to their diet. Like most adults, most children are not getting enough fiber food and fluid in their diet. Without both of these components, constipation is very likely to occur.

To help your child, begin decreasing the amount of sugary foods in his or her diet. Then increase the amount of fiber by choosing cereals that are high in fiber, switching to whole grain bread, giving more fiber-rich vegetables, and mixing fiber into tasty smoothies. Mixing prune juice into oatmeal can also be effective.

Teaching healthy habits

Another cause of constipation in children is that they do not understand their bodies yet. When they have to go to the bathroom, they may wait and this can actually cause difficult bowel movements. When children have a difficult time, they start avoiding having bowel movements and start “holding” it.

Instead, begin teaching your child to go to the bathroom any time he or she needs to have a bowel movement.

Work on establishing a bathroom routine so your child is going on a schedule. This is one of the best ways to beat constipation in children.


If the problem is severe or recurring, your physician may recommend some type of laxative that is safe for children. Be careful about overusing these medications for the treatment of constipation in children. Overuse can lead to loose stools and to chronic colon [colon cancer] problems later in life.