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Constipation in Children

Blog thumbnail

Constipation in Children


If your child has trouble going to the bathroom, don’t worry. It’s more common than you think!


Around 30% por children suffer from episodes of constipation, mainly associated to the suppression of the bowel impulse because of fear of pain.1 When children have a bad experience in  bowel movement (pain) they go into a vicious circle where they suppress the impulse to avoid pain. When that happens, the fecal content accumulates and hardens, provoking even more pain.2


There are 3 periods where your child has more probability of having constipation, mostly associated to tough changes in habits or diets: weaning (babies), stop wearing diapers (toddlers) and when they start going to school.3


What can you do?

As most pediatric constipation cases are not related to malfunction in the intestines, but to the child avoiding a bowel movement, its not enough to increase the intake of water and fiber (but it’s still great for their health to do so!). In this case is advisable to use a desimpactation strategy with stimulant laxatives like Senna, combined with a daily-use laxative. This way the child won’t be able to suppress the bowel impulse and the vicious circle will be broken. This will also allow to create a bowel habit, regulate digestion, and develop a normal evacuation. This strategy has a 65% success rate versus 50% when you only use daily-use laxatives.2



  • Be pacient! It’s normal that the child soils his clothes when he starts using laxatives, since he still hasn’t learned how to identify its working.
  • Take advantage of the laxative to create a bowel habit, that way he will be able to go to the toilet without help: encourage him to go to the toilet 15-30 minutes after each meal. 7-10 minutos seated in the toilet is enough.3,4
  • In the case of school children, talk with their teachers: its important for the therapy success that they let him go to the toilet when he feels the need.3,4


Prunelax Kids is a Senna (stimulant) laxative in syrup with a great flavor. 1 ml = 1.5 mg Sennosides. Includes a measuring cup or you can use a syrup syringe for a smaller dosage.


As parents we want what’s best for our children. To create strong, healthy bonds that give them the confidence to be themselves. One way to do this is reading together, one of the most recommended parent-child activities according to experts. You will find in the following link a set of Good Night Stories, blogs and advice from child specialists. Enjoy and recommend!



Normal Frequency of Stools in Children3


Age Stools per Week* Stools per Day**
0-3 months    
Breastfeeding 5 – 40 2,9
Infant Formula 5 – 28 2,0
6-12 months 5- 28 1,8
1-3 years old 4 – 21 1,4
More than 3 years old 3 – 14 1,0
() = Aproximately Mean ± 2 SD (*) = Mean


Daily recommended Dose of Sennosides Food and Drug Administration (FDA) British National Formulary for Children (BNFC)
Children 1 to 24 months old*    
Children 2 to 4 years old 3 to 25 mg 3,75 to 15 mg
Childen 4 to 6 years old 3 to 25 mg 3,75 to 15 mg
Childen 6 to 12 years old 6 to 50 mg 3,75 to 30 mg
Childen 12 to 18 years old 12 to 100 mg 7,5 to 30 mg
*Under strict medical supervision.


  1. Burgers R. et al. “The care of constipated children in primary care in different countries”.  Foundation Acta Paediatrica 2012 101, pp. 677-680
  2. Borowitz s. et al. “Treatment of Childhood Constipation by Primary Care Physicians: Efficacy and Predictors of Outcome”. Pediatrics 2005; Vol 115 N°4;873
  3. Camarero C. et al. “Diagnóstico y tratamiento del estreñimiento en el niño”. Sistema Nacional de Salud. Volumen 35, N°1/2011
  4. Azfal et al. “Constipation in Children”. Italian Journal of Pediatrics 2011, 37:28
  5. Bardisa-Ezcurra et al. “Diagnosis and management of idiopathic childhood constipation: summary of NICE guidance”. BMJ 2010, Vol 340;1240-1242.


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