Constipation in Children

Illustration of the anatomy of the digestive system, adult

What is constipation?

Constipation is defined as:

  • A decrease in frequency of bowel movements, compared to a child's usual pattern (some health care providers define constipation as fewer than three bowel movements per week).

  • The passage of hard, oftentimes large-caliber, dry bowel movements.

  • Bowel movements that are difficult or painful to push out.

However, normal stool elimination may consist of having a bowel movement three times a day or three times a week; it depends on the person. Constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal complaints, resulting in 2.5 million health care provider visits annually.

Learn more about constipation.

Online Medical Reviewer: Bass, Pat F. III, MD, MPHSather, Rita, RN

Date Last Reviewed: 4/11/2012

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