Functional constipation: Your child's treatment plan

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Functional constipation happens when a child has infrequent stooling which is difficult and often painful to pass. Stool withholding behaviours can also be seen. Find out what causes it to happen and how it can be treated.

Key points

  • Functional constipation is not a result of a medical problem. It happens when a child withholds stool, usually because they are afraid of the pain linked to passing hard stools or have a fear of the toilet.
  • Treatment involves a disimpaction (cleanout) phase and a maintenance phase.
  • Give your child a diet that is high in fibre, vegetables and fruit, and has lots of fluids.
  • Treatment often involves medications and regular follow-up appointments for one or two years. Be patient and continue with the treatment plan advised by your child's doctor.
Last updated: March 2nd 2021