Constipation is very common in children and for many there is no known reason why it happens (this is known as idiopathic constipation). Research has shown that 29% of 4½ year olds and 27.5% of 9½ year olds in the UK suffer with constipation.
A child is considered to be constipated if they poo less than 3 times a week. However, every child’s pooing pattern is different and some children will need to poo twice a day whilst others will go only every other day.
Constipation and soiling can cause children and their families considerable stress. As well as managing the day-to-day problems with constipation and soiling, parents often fear their child may be bullied or ridiculed if they soil outside the home. For some families constipation and soiling can impact on social interaction leading to feelings of isolation for the whole family.
Treatment is likely to include:
Medication to relieve constipation and clear faecal impaction.
Suggestions for appropriate changes to the diet and fluid intake.
Establishing a regular routine of sitting on the toilet for a few minutes at least once a day, 15-20 minutes after a meal.