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From Nemours' KidsHealth
- A to Z: Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- A to Z: Gastroenteritis
- A to Z: Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD)
- A to Z: Intussusception
- A to Z: Intestinal Malabsorption
- A to Z: Constipation
- A to Z Symptoms: Diarrhea
- A to Z Symptoms: Vomiting
- A to Z: Colitis
- Soiling (Encopresis)
- Necrotizing Enterocolitis
- Milk Allergy in Infants
- First Aid: Stomachaches
- First Aid: Constipation
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome Special Needs Factsheet
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease Special Needs Factsheet
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease
- Soy Allergy
- Ultrasound: Abdomen
- Egg Allergy
- First Aid: Diarrhea
- Digestive System
- Lactose Intolerance
- Lactose Intolerance Special Needs Factsheet
- Celiac Disease Special Needs Factsheet
- Celiac Disease
- Food Allergies
- Gastroesophageal Reflux
- Gastrostomy Tube (G-Tube)
- Nut and Peanut Allergy
- Wheat Allergy
- X-Ray Exam: Upper Gastrointestinal Tract (Upper GI)
- X-Ray Exam: Abdomen
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Shellfish Allergy
Trusted External Resources
- American Academy of Pediatrics
- American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD)
- American Gastroenterological Association (AGA)
- American Liver Foundation
- American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders
- Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America
- The Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES) Foundation
- The International Gastrointestinal Eosinophil Researchers (TIGER)
- North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN)
A to Z: Constipation
A to Z: Constipation
Constipation means having fewer and harder bowel movements (poops) than usual.
More to Know
Constipation is when:
- Someone has fewer than three bowel movements in a week.
- The poop is hard, dry, and very large.
- It's difficult to poop.
Constipation is not usually a sign of something serious. Common reasons kids get constipated are:
- not having enough fluids and fiber in the diet
- too little exercise
- not fully emptying the bowel when pooping
People who are constipated might have belly pain and a hard time pooping. They might see a bit of blood on the toilet paper after wiping because straining to pass a hard stool can crack the skin of the anus.
Some kids might get constipated because of changes in routine. They might be worried or stressed about a new situation. For example, kids who start a new school may feel nervous about using a new bathroom. Constipation can also be a side effect of some medicines.
Constipation usually goes away on its own when kids drink enough fluids, eat high-fiber foods, and get enough exercise. Kids should also learn to go to the toilet when they feel the urge and not try to hold in a bowel movement.
Keep in Mind
Sometimes, bad constipation can be a sign a child has a health problem. Call your doctor if constipation lasts more than a week or a child also has bad belly pain or throws up.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
Date reviewed: September 26, 2016