Constipation is the term used to describe when there is difficulty in emptying the bowels, usually associated with hardened faeces or soiling (stools, poos or motions).
The Public Health Nursing Team can support you in identifying and managing constipation and soiling in children and young people.
We also work closely with colleagues in Early Years and Education to support how this is managed in these settings.
Guidance and helpful information
Here are some things you can do at home to help your child with constipation:
- Is your child drinking enough? Children should try to drink six to eight glasses of water-based drinks per day (one glass is approximately 250ml). They need enough fluids to keep the bowel movements soft and regular.
- Do they have enough fibre in their diet? Eating enough fibre is very important in ensuring your child’s bowels stay comfortable and they are able to go to the toilet easily. This means eating five portions of fruit or vegetables per day.
- Are they getting enough physical activity?
- Are they comfortable/safe sitting on the toilet and sitting there long enough? Does he/she need a child’s toilet seat and a stool to feel safe?
- Are they afraid to sit on the toilet or to have a poo/are they trying to hold it in?
If you think your child is constipated, or as a young person feel you may be constipated, please seek advice and support.
Click the links below to view videos by our team on:
Please also take a look at the website link to the right for advice and helpful suggestions about how to manage constipation and other issues around toileting.
How can we help?
We can give you help and advice about both treating and preventing constipation in your child. This will involve an assessment appointment and support with ensuring good toileting routines and fluid intake. Further treatment may involve the use of Movicol which is the recommended medication for childhood constipation (NICE guidance).
Sometimes a child needs more specialised assistance – the team can refer your child to the Specialist Paediatric Continence Service for help, as can your GP, and your paediatrician (if your child is under the care of one).
What happens next?
If your child has one of the problems detailed above, you should initially speak to your school nurse or health visitor to assess if they can assist your child with their symptoms.