If home treatment for constipation hasn’t helped, your child may need to see a gastroenterologist at the Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital Center for Digestive Health and Nutrition to look for an underlying cause. Constipation often results from poor diet, being inactive and not drinking enough fluids. With this in mind, your child’s doctor will ask about their diet and lifestyle habits, including physical activity and any medications or supplements, since some of these can also contribute to constipation.

Your child’s doctor will do a physical exam that may include checking their temperature, blood pressure and heart rate. The doctor may also look for signs of dehydration and check your child’s abdomen for tenderness or swelling.

In many cases, especially in older children, constipation develops when they avoid going to the bathroom. This can happen when kids don’t want to stop playing, or when they start school and find that the toilet is less private. Emotional problems lead a few children to withhold stool. Your child’s doctor may ask questions to determine if any of these issues are contributing to constipation. In some cases, imaging or lab tests may be needed to check for signs of an underlying condition.