Constipation in children or adults can be associated with medical problems. It is important to check the diet, a urine culture, look for celiac disease and do a rectal.
I had an e-mail from a friend telling me of her grandchildren's medical problems and asking me what I would do. Apparently, the children's doctors were doing various tests and not being able to find the cause of the problems. One child was having severe constipation and the other one was leaking urine. Having heard from the woman what terrible diets the two children had, it wasn't too difficult to come up with some answers. I suspected both children were having problems with hard stools and constipation because of their diet. Apparently, they ate little protein, few fruits, or vegetables, but lots of sugar cereals, cookies, and similar snacks.
What I would do with patients like this was to have the mother or father keep a three day record of every thing the children ate. By looking at this, I could get a good idea of what was missing in their daily food intake. If I saw the children in my office, I would do a complete examination, as well as a rectal examination. Then I would order a urinalysis and urine culture on the child with the urinary problems. I suspect that child could have a chronic urinary infection association with constipation. There is an association between constipation and urinary infections. Unfortunately, many doctors are not aware of this. However, it is well documented in the literature. No expensive tests need to be done, just good basic medicine with a careful diet history.
It is important to remember that constipation can be a sign of celiac disease. Doctors usually think of an association with diarrhea but constipation can also be a problem.