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If your child suffers from chronic constipation, you may be aware of the emotional and physical burdens that result from this difficult condition. Although most children experience constipation from time to time, when it lasts for weeks, months or even years, it can lead to more serious problems such as fecal incontinence (loss of bowel control) and issues with motility (slow or abnormal intestinal contractions), leading to distension, poor appetite and growth, and crampy abdominal pain. 

In addition to painful physical symptoms, pediatric chronic constipation can lead to school absences, multiple doctor visits, exclusion from social activities and embarrassment, especially if a child experiences soiling. These children and their caregivers often suffer from emotional distress including anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and a decrease in their quality of life. However, with early diagnosis and by using quick implementation of a bowel management treatment plan, children can move on to live happy and healthy lives. Understanding the underlying problems that are causing the constipation is key to successfully managing symptoms, restoring healthy bowel function and improving a patient and family’s quality of life.

Understanding Pediatric Functional Constipation and Fecal Incontinence

What is chronic constipation?

Can functional constipation occur at all stages of childhood?

How is fecal continence achieved?

How is anatomic incontinence defined vs. functional constipation in children?

Are all patients with anorectal malformations or Hirschsprung disease born with the ability to achieve fecal continence?

What are the causes of constipation in a newborn or infant?

What medical therapies should be considered for an infant with constipation?

How is the treatment of constipation in a toddler different from a newborn or an infant?

How is constipation in school age children treated?