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HealthInfo Canterbury

Medications for constipation in children

Laxatives are medications that help the body get rid of poo. Most are available over the counter at a pharmacy, but your general practice team can advise on the type and dosage needed.

Laxatives for child constipation

The purpose of laxatives is to allow your child to develop a normal bowel habit. Ideally your child should be passing one soft but formed poo a day.

Children often need laxatives for many months. Don't suddenly stop prescribed laxatives, as this can cause the constipation to come back. Your child's doctor will normally advise you to gradually reduce the dose over time.

For more details read this useful Laxative factsheet from Kidshealth.

Other treatments

If your child has severe constipation with hard or impacted (tightly blocked or wedged in) poo, they will need a higher dose of laxatives. In some cases, other treatments may be required to clear the blockage. These include suppositories and mini-enemas.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated September 2016.

Page reference: 48243

Review key: HICOC-14683