Constipation in Children (cont.)
Constipation in Children Diagnosis
- A health care practitioner will perform an examination to assess the child's general appearance and growth. The health care practitioner will look for signs of diseases that may cause constipation.
- Close attention to the abdominal exam may reveal distention, tenderness, or hard stool that can be felt.
- Anal inspection will be performed to check for problems. The The health care practitioner may perform a digital rectal exam with his or her finger to check for hard stool in the rectum or to see if the rectum is dilated.
- The stool may need to be tested for blood.
- Usually no diagnostic tests or X-rays have to be performed if the history and exam suggest constipation. Sometimes an abdominal radiograph (X-ray) is obtained and shows stool in the colon. If a medical problem is suspected as the cause of constipation, blood tests or other abdominal imaging studies may need to be performed.
- The most useful tool the doctor can use to diagnose constipation is the history given by the parents. A doctor needs to know the following:
- What is meant when parents use the term constipation and how long has the condition been present?
- What is the size and consistency of the stools?
- How frequent are the bowel movements?
- Is pain present with stooling and is there blood present?
- Is abdominal pain a problem?
- Is there poor appetite, weight loss, or poor weight gain?
- Are episodes of fecal soiling present?
- Does the child use the bathroom at school?
- What over-the-counter, herbal, or prescription medications are being taken?
- What type of diet is the child on?
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/23/2014
Must Read Articles Related to Constipation in Children
Encopresis is the soiling of the underwear with stool by children who are past the age of toilet training. Causes of encopresis is caused by disease or an anato...learn more >>
Patient Comments & Reviews
The eMedicineHealth doctors ask about Constipation in Children: