During an office visit, a doctor will ask you questions about your child’s medical history and complete an exam. The doctor might ask questions like:
- How old was your baby when he/she had their first poop?
- How often does your child poop?
- Does your child complain of pain with pooping?
- Have you been trying to toilet train your child lately?
- What is your child’s diet like?
- Has your child had any increased stress lately?
- Does your child soil his/her pants? If so, how often?
Your child may need to have a rectal exam. The doctor or nurse can help explain this special exam to your child before the exam is done.
Sometimes, your child may need special tests to help find a cause for the constipation. These tests might include:
Abdominal X-ray: This is a special X-ray picture to evaluate the amount of stool in the large intestine.
Contrast enema: This is a test which uses X-rays and a special kind of enema solution to take pictures of the colon or large bowel, which is the lower part of the intestines. The test shows the doctor if there is anything wrong inside the colon and how well it is working.
Anorectal manometry: This is a test that measures the strength of the muscles in the anus, nerve reflexes, the sense that the rectum is opening and coordination of muscle when pooping.
Rectal biopsy: A tissue sample is taken from the lining of the rectum to look at under a microscope for any problems.