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Medical conditions linked to constipation

BMJ Group Medical Reference

Some medical conditions that affect the nerves and muscles of your child's bowels can cause constipation. But remember that most children with constipation don't have any of these disorders.

Hirschsprung's disease

Children are born with this condition, and it causes very bad constipation. If a child has Hirschsprung's disease, the nerves to their bowels haven't developed properly and the muscles that push stools out don't work well. This means stools build up in their bowels and stretch their bowels out.

This condition is also called congenital megacolon, which means a large colon caused by a condition they're born with. The colon is the part of the bowels that absorbs water and pushes out stools.

A child with Hirschsprung's disease will need surgery to remove the affected part of the bowels. If your child has Hirschsprung's disease, you usually find out soon after their birth.

Thyroid problems

Your thyroid gland makes hormones that your body needs to work properly. If your thyroid gland doesn't make enough of these hormones, you have what's called hypothyroidism. This can give you constipation. If your child has hypothyroidism, they'll be given medicine to take regularly to replace the missing hormones.

Most children who get constipation because of thyroid problems have other symptoms, too. These include weight gain, not growing as quickly as they should, hair loss, and thick skin.

Other medical conditions

Children with cerebral palsy and cystic fibrosis often get constipated because these conditions affect their digestive system.


cerebral palsy

Children with cerebral palsy have disabilities because they were injured while they were in the womb or during birth. They often have trouble moving some or all of their limbs. They may also have learning difficulties or seizures.

cystic fibrosis

Cystic fibrosis is a disease people are born with that gives them problems with their lungs and bowels. The main results are breathing and digestive problems.


Hormones are chemicals that are made in certain parts of the body. They travel through the bloodstream and have an effect on other parts of the body. For example, the female sex hormone oestrogen is made in a woman's ovaries. Oestrogen has many different effects on a woman's body. It makes the breasts grow at puberty and helps control periods. It is also needed to get pregnant.

thyroid gland

Your thyroid gland is a small organ that sits in your neck, just in front of your windpipe. It sends out a hormone called thyroxine. This acts on receptors within cells. By acting on the receptors it gives the cells a message to speed up their metabolism and work harder.

For more terms related to Constipation in children


For references related to Constipation in children click here.
Last Updated: June 20, 2013
This information does not replace medical advice.  If you are concerned you might have a medical problem please ask your Boots pharmacy team in your local Boots store, or see your doctor.

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