About Constipation

As our children grow from infant to toddler and beyond, their bodies go through significant growth milestones and changes. Introduction of solid food happens for most babies by the time they are one year old. Then, as their sense of taste develops, they can show preferences for, or refuse certain foods. Constipation in children can occur for many reasons, most of which are not cause for concern and will self-remedy in a few days. In fact, in many cases it simply involves the child withholding stool, often due to having experienced painful bowel movements.

Examination and Treatment

If your GP has referred you to a Paediatric Gastroenterologist then your child’s constipation is likely accompanied by associated symptoms such as abdominal pain, distention, blood in their stools, behavioural changes, or refusal to feed and requires further investigation.

Some of the more serious conditions which can lead to constipation include:

  • Food intolerances and allergies
  • Coeliac disease
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Anatomic malformations

Dr McIntyre will take a detailed history and examine your child. In some instances where the constipation is persistent over a period of time, a physical exam may indicate impaction or a blockage. This can usually be treated at home with laxatives, or in more severe cases may require admission to hospital for high dose laxative treatment. Where an underlying disease or disorder is suspected, further tests may be required.

Things you can do

  • Establish regular toileting routines and offer encouragement
  • Ensure your child is getting enough fluids
  • Try minor adjustments to diet, such as introducing more vegetables and other high-fibre and high water-content foods

Promoting good health in our children

“Working closely with children and their families, it's immensely satisfying to be able to make a difference to their lives by managing their medical conditions with care and compassion.”

Dr Emma McIntyre