Understanding & Treating Constipation in Children

Toileting is something parents freely share information about with each other. So when it comes to constipation in children, there’s plenty of advice around. The challenge is narrowing it down to what you need to understand about constipation and how to treat it. That’s why we’re here to help.

What is Constipation?

Incredibly common, constipation presents as hard and dry stools with infrequent bowel movements. The signs and symptoms of constipation in children can include:

  • Painful bowel movements
  • Soiling accidents
  • Frequent diarrhoea
  • Bright red blood around a poo
  • Tummy pain or nausea
  • Pebble like poos
  • Difficulty passing stools
  • Poor appetite
  • Reluctance to go to the toilet
  • Urinary incontinence or bedwetting

What Causes Constipation in Children?

Just like adults, kids can develop constipation due to a diet low in fibre and not drinking enough. Other reasons why kids can develop constipation include:

  • Starting solids
  • Weaning from breast milk
  • Ignoring the need to have a poo
  • Not emptying their bowel fully
  • A naturally slower gut movement
  • Not enough physical activity
  • Medications
  • Cow’s milk allergy
  • Toilet training issues
  • Medical conditions
  • Stress & anxiety

For most children, their stools become normal within a few days. For others, it becomes a regular occurrence and one which needs medical intervention.

3 Types of Constipation

There are three types of constipation common to both kids and adults. They are:

  • Atonic Constipation – this type occurs due to reduced muscle tone from the pelvic floor, abdominal wall or colon muscles. It’s common due to low activity, low fibre diet and holding onto stools.
  • Spastic Constipation – caused by stress, certain foods and medications resulting in colonic spasms.
  • Obstructive Constipation – this occurs when stools are stopped from exiting because of an obstruction. In most children, the obstruction is a large amount of faeces, but can also be cystic fibrosis, damaged pelvic nerves or tumours. If the stools remain in a rectum, the gradual loss of the sensation of needing to have a bowel movement occurs. Loose liquid stools may also leak out around the blockage, resulting in frequent soiling which is often mistaken for diarrhoea.

Treatment for Constipation

There are three main treatments for constipation. Firstly, you can encourage your child to eat a high fibre diet and drink lots of water. Foods such as beans, chickpeas, popcorn and lots of fresh fruit and vegetables are recommended. Next encouraging your child to use the toilet regularly helps to build a regular routine and stop constipation occurring. Finally, there is medical intervention with the use of prescribed laxatives and other stool softeners.

Brolly Sheets has discreet products which can help you manage your child’s constipation. Our Brolly Sheet Bed Pads are ideal for bedwetting incidents, our Waterproof Undie Liners help contain accidental spoilage and our Waterproof Kids Car Seat Protectors help keep their car seats clean when you are out and about. If you’d like some personal advice, please send us a message and we’ll be in touch!

Useful product links

Brolly Sheets – our iconic bed pads, with or without tuck-in wings

Australia | New Zealand | United Kingdom | United States

Waterproof Undie Liners

Australia | New Zealand

Waterproof Kids Car Seat Protectors

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