Constipation is defined as either a decrease in the frequency of bowel movements or the painful passage of bowel movements.
Children 1 to 4 years of age typically have a bowel movement once or twice a day, and over 90% go at least every other day. However, children that go every other day may be constipated. When children are constipated for a long time they may begin to soil their underwear. It is important to know that this fecal soiling is involuntary, and the child has no control over it. Constipation is very common in children of all ages, especially during potty-training and in school-aged children. Of all visits to the pediatrician, 3% are in some way related to constipation. At least 25% of visits to a pediatric gastroenterologist are due to problems with constipation. Millions of prescriptions are written every year for laxatives and stool softeners.
Managing Constipation - Video the Poo in You
The Poo in You is a wonderful video if your child is having problems with soiling accidents. This interactive, animated video explains what causes the accidents, why they happen so often, and how it can be treated. If your child is having problems with soiling accidents (also known as encopresis, “poo accidents,” “poo-ing” in pants), you’re certainly not alone. This is one of the most common problems seen by both pediatric GI and primary care providers. Watch the video, developed by APGNN member Becky Kendall, NP, from Children’s Hospital Colorado, supported by an educational grant from the NASPGHAN Foundation.