How to Help Children Overcome Severe Constipation

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Constipation is a condition when you cannot have bowel movements

on a daily basis. The symptoms of constipation live on a

spectrum that can range from mild to severe. In severe cases,

children might experience episodes of fecal impaction or

soiling. Fecal impaction occurs when many days go by without a

bowel movement. This means your child's stool spends a longer

time inside the colon and the colon becomes backed up. As more

stool accumulates, the colon stretches more and more. Soiling

is when there is a passage of some stool into the underwear

without meaning to. In order to treat these symptoms, the

International Center for Colorectal and Urogenital Care

at Children's Hospital Colorado has pioneered a bowel management

program. Our team approach will help find an individualized

laxative amount for your child. During bowel management week, we

will perform a contrast enema and take x-rays of your child's

colon. This helps us determine how dilated it is and how much

stool is in the colon. This will help determine the amount of

laxative we will give your child to empty their colon. We might

adjust your child's laxative amount based on their symptoms.

If your child does not have a bowel movement in a 24-hour

period, we will give an enema and increase the laxative

amount. If your child experiences diarrhea and

multiple bowel movements, we will decrease the laxative

amount. By the end of the program, your child will leave

with an individualized laxative amount so they can have daily

bowel movements. Children who suffer from severe constipation

will most require laxatives for life. Your doctors at Children's

Hospital Colorado will be here to assist you and your child

after the program ends. For more information or to request an

appointment, visit

or call the number below.