Your child is constipated. Constipation causes belly (abdominal) cramping and difficulty passing stools. Most often it is due to a diet that does not have enough fiber. It can also be caused by bathroom habits. These include waiting too long to go to the toilet or emotional upsets. Sometimes passing a hard, constipated stool will cause a small tear in the anal area resulting in small amounts of blood on the toilet paper or stool. This condition will usually heal without treatment.



  • Dietary treatment for infants includes adding pear or prune juice, or age and texture appropriate fruits and vegetables such as prunes, pears, peaches, apricots, peas, spinach, or beans.
  • Avoid giving apples, bananas or rice cereal.
  • Milk products may also increase constipation. Soy formula may be helpful. Please consult your pediatrician  before any changes are made.
  • For older children, add the above fruits and vegetables plus foods containing bran such as whole grain cereals, bran muffins, and whole wheat bread. 
  • Avoid refined grains and other starches such as white rice, white bread or crackers, and potatoes.
  • You should help your child to have regular stools by having him or her sit on the toilet for a few minutes after meals.
  • A registered dietician can help you and your child get enough fiber that will help lessen problems with  constipation. If diet changes do not work right away, you may try a mild laxative such as Maltsuprex, Milk of Magnesia, or Miralax.
  • Glycerine suppositories may also be prescribed.



  • Increasing pain. 
  • Does not have a bowel movement after 3 days of treatment.
  • Has leaking stools, or passes blood.


Document Released: 01/25/2006 Document Re-Released: 01/06/2009

ExitCare® Patient Information ©2009 ExitCare, LLC.

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Alan S. Coit, M.D.
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