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Obstipation (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

Fever and scratches in the rectum may lead to constipation. Laxatives are recommended. If your child vomits, you must call the doctor immediately.

It can be difficult to determine whether a child is constipated. The number of defecations is not important it is important, however, whether the child is bothered in connection with defecation. There is talk of constipation when the stool is hard and tuberous while the child is bothered.

The frequency of defecations varies from child to child and changes with age. Children who are breastfed can defecate as rarely as every second week, whereas children who are given formula defecate more frequently. After the age of 1 most children defecate at least every other day.

Children with constipation scream and become stiff when they defecate. Small children are often uneasy and tip around on their toes. Larger children often squat with their heals put against their rectum. After painful defecation with tuberous stools, the children cheer up. Now, they eat better and feel fine, until it all starts over once again.

Often, there is an explanation to the cause of constipation. However, prolonged fever and scratches in the rectum can lead to constipation. If the child screams/cries in connection with defecation or if there is blood in the stool, this can indicate a scratch in the rectum.

It is important to take constipation seriously and seek treatment. Often, a viscous cycle develops where the constipation cause hard stool, the hard stool cause pain, which is why the child will try to avoid defecation (‘holds back’) so that the constipation worsens.

Click here to read about how you evaluate your child


Depending on the child’s age:

0-6 months:
Lactulose is a mild laxative that can be bought over the counter. Lactulose can be given directly through the bottle. The amount of medication depends on the child’s weight. Continue to use the Lactulose for 5 days and if there is no effect you should contact the doctor.

More than 6 months old:
First, try Lactulose as described above. If this has no effect in the course of two days, you can try the laxative Laxoberal that can be bought over the counter. Continue with drops of Laxoberal for 5 days and if there is no effect, you should contact a doctor.

What can you do?

With most children a laxative is not always enough. Often, it is necessary to use both a laxative, change the diet and make sure the child goes to the toilet regularly. The diet should be changed so that it contains plenty of fibres (dark bread with grains), fruit and vegetables while the child is encouraged to drink plenty of fluid. Regular visits to the toilet after every main meal is important. The child should be comfortable with a toy or a comic book. The visit to the toilet should last at least 15 minutes.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If the child is uneasy and the stool is hard and tuberous in spite of own treatment. If there are strong pain when defecating or if there is blood in the stool.

Contact the doctor immediately

If the child screams and suffers despite your attempts to calm it. If a child with constipation starts to vomit.