Symptoms may start soon after birth or when your child starts eating baby food or solid food. You may also notice symptoms when you start to potty train your child.
Your child may have these symptoms:
- Not having a bowel movement each day
- Bowel movements are hard
- May struggle with bowel movements
- Bowel movements may be painful
- May soil their underwear
Sometimes the anus may tear when your child is passing a large, hard piece of stool. This cut may reopen each time the child passes more stool. The child then learns that passing stool is painful and tries to avoid it. They hold the stool in. This makes the problem worse and harder to treat.
When stool stays inside the intestine longer than 24 hours, the intestine stretches to hold the large amount of stool. The stretched colon then holds more stool, making the constipation worse.
Your child may have soiling or smearing of stool in their underwear. The child may get used to having their underwear always dirty. The child may get used to their own odor. The parents must understand that the child often does not notice their own smell.