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  • By Steve Hodges, M.D.

7 Myths About Kids and Constipation

7 myths about kids and constipation

If your child was chronically constipated, would you know it?

You might think, “Of course!” Yet chronic and severe constipation often goes undetected in children. This is a big deal, since constipation is by far the top cause of belly pain, bedwetting, pee accidents, and poop accidents–conditions that are epidemic among children in Westernized countries.

Even when constipation is noticed, it’s often undertreated, so belly pain and accidents (conditions that are totally fixable!) linger unnecessarily. Here are seven persistent myths about constipation that prevent many kids from receiving the treatment they need:

Myth #1: The key sign of constipation is infrequent pooping.

REALITY: The top two signs are 1.) XXL poops and 2.) poop shaped like pellets or logs. Children’s poop should resemble soft-serve ice cream, pudding, hummus — you get the idea! While infrequent pooping is indeed a sign of constipation, many chronically clogged children poop daily, even twice a day, because they never fully empty. So focusing on frequency can be misleading. (Get a free “How’s Your Poop?” download with illustrations that will help you spot constipation.)

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Must-read books for kids by Steve Hodges, M.D.

• Bedwetting and Accidents Aren't Your Fault

• Jane and the Giant Poop