Common and easy to treat


Constipation means passing hard poos, with difficulty and less often than normal. Babies can have a poo several times a day or once every few days. Babies often appear to strain and go red in the face when having a poo - this is normal.

In children, having a poo anything from 3 times a day to once every other day can be normal so long as the poos are soft and easily passed. Sometimes bad constipation can cause a child to dirty their pants.

It is not always clear why children become constipated but it is important to get it treated because if a child is constipated they may find it painful to go to the toilet. This creates a vicious circle; the more it hurts, the more they hold back, the more constipated they get.

Once a child is really constipated they may stop wanting to go to the toilet altogether. Ask your Health Visitor if a stool softener might help. If it doesn’t solve the problem, talk to your GP.

Source: NICE guidelines 2009, constipation in children.