Despite having completed potty training, many parents find that bathroom issues can continue to persist in their school-age children. Anxiety about using a public bathroom can lead to physical health issues in kids, like chronic constipation.
Children can find using a public-school bathroom troubling for a variety of reasons: fear of embarrassment, fear of getting lost, concerns about toiletries that are different than those they use at home, and fear of missing out on activities in class. When children “withhold” their urine or feces, it can quickly become a medical issue that sometimes leads to complications. The Journal of Pediatric Health Care1 explored some of these complications, like bed-wetting, which can affect as many as 40 percent of children involved.
Also, urinary tract infections can be associated with constipation issues. Urinary tract infections (UTIs) affect eight percent of young girls and 1¬2 percent of young boys at least once by the time they are five years of age, according to The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) 1
The American Academy of Pediatrics also cites constipation as one of several factors that may contribute to a higher risk of urinary tract reinfection, in addition to incomplete bladder emptying and holding urine. It is important to treat a child’s constipation promptly, before it leads to such obstructions; and it is recommended that children have at least one soft bowel movement a day if possible. For those who need help though, stool softeners and one-time, emergency enemas are sometimes necessary.
Warning signs and symptoms of childhood constipation include: