Constipation is defined as:
However, normal stool elimination may consist of having a bowel movement 3 times a day or 3 times a week; it depends on the person. Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints, resulting in 2.5 million health care provider visits annually.
Sometimes, there is no identifiable reason for constipation in children. However, some of the causes may include:
Hard stools can irritate or tear the lining of the anus (fissure), making it painful to have a bowel movement. The child may avoid having a bowel movement, which can cause further constipation.
The following are the most common symptoms of constipation. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
The symptoms of constipation may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's health care provider for a diagnosis.
A health care provider will examine your child and get a complete medical history. Depending on the age of your child, you might be asked questions such as:
Occasionally, in addition to a physical examination, your child's health care provider may want to perform other diagnostic tests to determine if there are any problems. These tests may include:
Do not hesitate to contact your child's health care provider if you have any questions or concerns about your child's bowel habits or patterns. The National Institutes of Health recommends that you talk to your child's health care provider if:
Our gastroenterology experts provide expert diagnosis and treatments for children with digestive, liver, and nutrition disorders.
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