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Pediatric Constipation – Causes

November 1, 2021


Some kids are naturally prone to constipation, the same way some people have bad eyesight or male pattern balding, but there are common events associated with the onset of constipation. Things like starting solid foods, switching from breast milk or formula to whole milk, potty training, starting school, puberty… For small kids, it can be driven by something we call withholding. Toddlers are pretty smart, but since they lack a lot of information, they don’t necessarily know what to do with certain stimuli. If they do something and it hurts, like poop, they generally are going to try not to do that again. So they will start to actively hold it. And when you start to hold it, that same cycle happens. It sits there longer, it gets harder, it gets drier, and more painful to pass, which means the next time they go, it hurts again. So again, they just get this cycle where they just don’t want to go. Diet and hydration are important. And generally, most kids have a pretty low fiber diet and don’t drink enough water, but really this withholding pattern often drives a lot of the problem for people. However, if you’re able to increase the amount of water and fiber, you’re generally going to have a little bit better protection against constipation.

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