What is constipation?
Constipation is a condition that happens when your child has:

  • Fewer than 3 bowel movements per week
  • Hard stools that are difficult or painful to pass

What causes constipation?
Constipation can happen as a result of either:

  • Organic – meaning there are identifiable causes such as colon disease or neurological problems
  • Functional – meaning there are no identifiable cause or worrisome reason behind it

Constipation can begin for children:

  • when there are Changes to their diet or routine
  • during toilet training
  • after an illness
  • holding bowel movements due to unfamiliar washroom facilities


What are the symptoms of constipations?
Signs that a child is constipated are different for each child. They may include:

  • Having fewer poops than normal
  • Poops that is difficult or painful to push out
  • Having large poops that plug the toilet
  • Passing poop that is hard and sometimes large
  • Having belly (abdominal ) bloating, cramps or pain
  • Showing signs of trying to hold stool in – clenching teeth, crossing legs, squeezing buttocks together, turning red in the face
  • Not feeling hungry
  • Bleeding from fissure (tear in the anus from passing hard stool)

The symptoms of constipation can be like other health conditions. Make sure your child sees his or her healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is constipation diagnosed?
In most cases a diagnosis of constipation is made by your physician by:

  • a history and physical

However, your doctor may order the following to clarify the diagnosis:

  • blood tests
  • x-ray

How is constipation treated?
Treatment for constipation varies for each child. It can include:

Educational Resources
Constipation Educational Resources
Dr H’s Resources


REMINDER: This information is intended to provide general information and should not be used to base a diagnosis or treatment. Please consult the doctors about your specific condition and the approach for treatment.