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Constipation is a common problem in which a child may have fewer bowel movements (BMs or poops) than usual. It usually isn't a cause for too much concern.
Constipation can often be remedied and prevented with the three Fs: fluids, fiber, and fitness.
Signs and Symptoms
fewer bowel movements than usual
straining and pain during bowel movements
stool (poop) that's hard, dry
larger stools than usual
feeling full or bloated
abdominal (belly) pain a little blood on the toilet paper after a BM
What to Do
Give your child plenty of water or juice. If your
baby is constipated, ask the doctor about adding prune, apple, or pear juice to the daily diet. Increase the fiber in your child's diet. Try apples, pears, oranges, beans, popcorn, oatmeal, and whole-grain breakfast cereals or breads.
Encourage daily exercise to encourage bowel movements.
Talk to your doctor before giving your child any medicine for constipation.
Seek Medical Care
If Your Child Has:
constipation lasting a week
liquid stool in the underwear when your child isn't sick
abdominal (belly) pain
vomiting loss of appetite
Skip fatty, sugary, or starchy foods, which can slow the bowels down. Choose fiber-rich foods instead and make sure they're washed thoroughly. Also, making sure kids are active every day will help keep their bowels moving, too.
Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: April 2014
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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