For many children there is no underlying physical reason for constipation, which is called Idiopathic constipation. Idiopathic constipation develops in children between 2-4 years of age.
Possible causes include:
- Withholding poo
- Fear of toilets
- Lack of a toilet regimen
- Resistance to potty training – insistence to put a nappy on to poo
- An unbalanced diet
- Low fluid intake
- Anxiety or emotional upset
- Some medications.
Children as usually toilet trained by about 3 years of age. Soiling is when the bowels are emptied in places other than the toilet, such as underwear. Soiling can range between skid marks and large deposits that require removal from underwear before washing.
If a child is unable to be toilet trained or has regular poo accidents beyond the ages of 3-4 years, then they should be medically assessed. If a child has previously been toilet trained and then starts to soil, they should also be medically assessed.
About 1-3% of children have soiling and some have both soiling and wetting. It tends to be more common in boys than girls.
Most often soiling occurs as a result of constipation. Constipation can occur in up to 25% of children. Constipation can occur as a result of withholding poo, which then becomes hard, difficult and often painful to pass.
AABBS will conduct a bowel assessment and a toilet program can be recommended often including a laxative regime.
Prior to appointment
A letter of referral from your GP or Pediatrician outlining the child’s medical history is required on first appointment. This allows correspondence between AABBS and client’s doctor. We will also require a diary of the child’s bowel actions prior to assessment. An abdominal x-ray may also be requested.
Resources for parents
The Children’s Bowel & Bladder Charity is an excellent resource for parents of children with bowel and bladder issues.
If you are struggling with bladder or bowel problems, looking for help, have NDIS funding or need a continence assessment, AABBS can help. Contact us to make an appointment today.