Nutritional Disorders Telehealth Network Project

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Constipation Alleviation through Fluids/Fiber/Meds

Constipation is a common problem in childhood and is estimated to account for 3% of all general pediatric visits and 25% of all pediatric gastroenterology visits (Sonnenberg & Koch, 1989). Unfortunately, many children who experience constipation will have decreased interest in eating or may develop eating habits which result in a worsening of symptoms. Often, with medical management alone symptoms of constipation improve. However, some children will require a combination of behavioral and medical treatment.

Instructions for Provider
  • Children generally have between 2 stools daily and 1 stool every other day. Stools should be soft and easily passed.
  • Foods which are high in fat may slow the motility of the gut and cause or worsen symptoms of constipation (e.g., concentrated dairy foods)
  • A higher fiber diet with adequate nutrition may help alleviate constipation. A good general rule to follow is to add five to a child’s age to estimate their daily grams of fiber and multiply that sum by 3 to estimate their hydration need. For example a 5 year old child would need about 10 grams of fiber each day and 30 or more oz of fluids.
  • If you suspect that a child has a constipation problem a medical evaluation should be recommended.
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Page Updated 04/15/2014