Top 5 Signs and Symptoms of Constipation in Children

symptoms of constipation in childrenBecause of the varying and often limited diets of children, occasional bowel dysfunction is not uncommon. While an ideal diet for constipation prevention includes a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and fiber rich grains, it’s not unusual for the often dairy dominated diets of young ones to lack some key components.

When a child is of talking age, it’s fairly simple for them to tell you that they are unable to “go poopie” , however in younger children who cannot verbalize their problems just yet, or in those that don’t understand their symptoms and what the problem is, knowing the symptoms of constipation in children can help you identify your child’s problem sooner, which can mean that starting over the counter options, natural remedies for constipation, or necessary dietary changes, can begin sooner.

1. Soiling accidents: Many parents might be shocked to learn that diarrhea can actually be one of the most overlooked symptoms of constipation in children. When a child’s rectum becomes blocked with stool, very watery stool can sneak around the hardened obstruction which can sometimes happen without any effort on their part. Pay attention to any fecal matter of any consistency, but don’t rule out liquid leakage and diarrhea both as potential symptoms of constipation in children.

2. Bleeding: Straining can lead to an enormous amount of discomfort for your child, and in extreme cases of straining, you may find bleeding coming from your child’s rectal area. This can be an unnerving symptom because blood is not ever something anyone wants to find during the evacuation process. However, this blood results from straining, as is common with a constipated toddler, and is normally not dangerous. However, stools that appear black or those that look like they could potentially have blood in them, warrant an immediate trip to the doctor’s office.

3. Stomach pain: Generalized tummy trouble is incredibly common in children for all sorts of reasons, and constipation can be one potential source of tummy aches in your child. The stomach pain may occur only when trying to go to the bathroom or it may exist in between attempts. Pay attention to what is happening before and after a trip to the potty to see if your child’s stomach aches and pains might be symptoms of constipation in children instead of a simple belly ache.

4. Bloating: A common link between babies and constipation is bloating and gas, and these are both symptoms of a plugged up poop chute. In infants, you may even be able to see distention in the abdomen, and this can potentially be uncomfortable for your child. You may also notice burping, trouble sleeping, and crying, particularly in younger children.

5. Pain when going: One of the easiest symptoms of constipation in children to identify is pain when going or trying to go. The pain can be in the abdominal area or, discomfort around the rectal region. Straining can cause additional discomfort as well.

In most cases, once you have identified that your child is having a hard time passing stool, providing relief for constipation is fairly simple. Fruit juices and high fiber foods as well as a restriction of dairy are all good choices to consider to combat the symptoms of constipation in children. If your child has prolonged periods of constipation, or other symptoms that you cannot explain, schedule an appointment with their doctor to rule out more sinister causes.