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Is constipation in children serious?

Several factors may cause children to become constipated, most of which are not dangerous. These may include a diet that is low in fiber or liquids, a lack of exercise, and stress from a change of school or new routine. Another common cause of constipation is withholding, a behavior in which children postpone stooling or stop themselves from having bowel movements. Chronic constipation, however, may lead to complications or in rare cases signal an underlying condition. If your child soils him or herself by passing stool anywhere other than in the toilet, your child may suffer from chronic constipation. He or she should be evaluated by a doctor and may require treatment.

Constipation is a change in your child’s bowel movement and stool pattern. It includes:

  • Harder stools
  • Longer periods between stools
  • Painful passage of stools
  • Not being able to pass a stool

Childhood constipation problems can get worse if not treated. Constipation in some children can occur more than once. It can lead to severe stomach and intestinal problems.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.