Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health flu-related visitor restrictions have been lifted. However, because babies, especially those who are ill or premature, are at higher risk of serious complications if they get the flu, visitation restrictions are still in place for all Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) until further notice.
Constipation means that the bowel is healthy but not working properly. Constipation is defined as having a bowel movement fewer than three times per week. Stools are usually hard, dry and difficult to eliminate. Some children who are constipated find it painful to have a bowel movement and often experience straining, bloating and the sensation of a full bowel.
In most cases, the cause of constipation is functional; in other words, there is no physical abnormality causing constipation. Some children experience functional constipation for the following reasons:
The good news is that, most of the time, constipation in childhood is not serious.
Symptoms of constipation include:
Children with constipation may pass a large amount of liquid stool, even if they are not sick. Parents may misinterpret this as diarrhea.
If your child has symptoms of constipation, a pediatric gastroenterologist will talk with you and your child and complete one or more of the following exams and tests to confirm a diagnosis:
There are four equally important parts of treating children with constipation:
Visit the websites below to find support groups and services and learn more about constipation.
Riley at IU Health offers a broad range of supportive services to make life better for families who choose us for their children's care.
The Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Department at Riley at IU Health is involved in research for constipation. If you would like to learn more, please ask your child's provider about available research opportunities.