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Constipation is defined as infrequent bowel movements requiring straining (generally every three or more days). The stool is often harder, making it difficult or painful to pass. When it lasts for several weeks or longer, it’s characterized as chronic constipation.
When chronic constipation makes an impact on a patient’s quality of life, WakeMed’s gastroenterologists and colorectal surgeons use their expertise and experience to find the underlying cause of the constipation—and provide effective treatment.
Symptoms of constipation can include:
Chronic constipation can be caused by the slow movement of stool, whether by a blockage or neurological issues in the colon or rectum. Pelvic floor and gastrointestinal disorders can also play a part. Certain medications and health issues can also make a person more susceptible to constipation.
Using the Bristol stool chart will help you tell your doctor the kind of BMs your child is having. It is important for your doctor to know this so he or she can properly diagnose and treat your child.
A normal stool should be types 4 and 5. Type 6 may be normal for infants. Types 1-3 may suggest constipation and types 6 and 7 may suggest diarrhea.
It is also important to tell the doctor:
Treating constipation is not an exact science. There are several treatment options to meet the unique needs of each child. Commonly used medications are available over the counter. Treatment typically includes diet changes and medications and has two phases – a three-day, aggressive, cleanout phase and a maintenance phase. Depending on your child’s age, the doctor may recommend one of the following plans.
Age 0-2 Years
Initial approach may include:
If the above approaches do not work by themselves, consider adding one of the following medications. Before you do, talk to your child’s doctor. It is important to include your child’s doctor in medical decision-making.
Continue the dose of PEG that works; give glycerin suppository if no BM in 3 days
Toddlers and Pre-Pubertal Children
If no success add a stimulant medication (twice a week)
Patients with purposeful withholding behavior due to control issues – referral to psychologist or behavioral therapist.
It may take a few days for the treatment to work. Contact your child’s doctor if you have questions or you do not feel the treatment is working after several days.
Printable Patient Information
Management of Functional Constipation
Constipation Cleanout Instructions
If you or someone you care for is experiencing worrisome symptoms, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our pediatric gastroenterologists, adult gastroenterologists or colorectal surgeons.
3000 New Bern Ave.
Raleigh, NC 27610