General Medical Questions

Treatment for Constipation

Constipation is treated in different ways. Your pediatrician will recommend a treatment based on your child's age and how serious the problem is. If your child's case is severe, he may need a special medical test, such as an x-ray. In most cases, no tests are needed.

Treatment of Babies Diet. Constipation is rarely a problem in younger infants. It may become a problem when your baby starts solid foods. Your pediatrician may suggest adding more water or juice to your child's diet.

Treatment of Older Children's Diet. When a child or teen is constipated, it may be because his diet doesn't include enough high-fiber foods and water. Your pediatrician may suggest adding more high-fiber foods to your child's diet, and encourage him to drink more water. These changes in your child's diet will help get rid of abdominal pain from constipation.

Severe Cases. If your child has a severe case of constipation, your pediatrician may prescribe medicine to soften or remove the stool. Never give your child laxatives or enemas unless your pediatrician says it's OK; laxatives can be dangerous to children if not used properly. After the stool is removed, your pediatrician may suggest ways you can help your child develop good bowel habits to prevent stools from backing up again.

Over 2 weeks old to 6 months: Definition: No stool for 5 days or hard pellet type stools. Treatment: (1) Try rectal stimulation. Use a Q-tip or rectal thermometer coated with vaseline or aquaphor and insert it 1/4 inch into rectum. Hold for 3 seconds and remove. this will act as a "baby suppository". You may repeat every 24 hours but not more then 3 days in a row.

And / Or: (2A) Brown sugar water: Add 3 teaspoons to 3oz. of water and warm to dissolve sugar. 1oz. to baby 1 - 2 daily.

Or: (2B) Prune Juice: Give to baby 1oz. 1 - 2 daily.

After 6 months: You may give baby prunes purred, 1oz. mixed with other baby food. Also, add more water to baby's diet.

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The information contained in this publication should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your pediatrician.
There may be variations in treatment that your pediatrician may recommend based on individual facts and circumstances.