Diarrhea and Constipation in Autism

For children in the spectrum, is well known that GI issues go hand to hand. Episodes of constipation and diarrhea can be normal for ASD children. Studies published by the Journal of Pediatrics estimate that “the odds of GI symptoms in children with ASD are four times more prevalent than for children without ASD.”

Today we will analyze the causes and signs of constipation and diarrhea and how to ease them.

Constipation in Autistic Children

For neurotypical adults and children, constipation is a temporary condition that can be easily fixed with diet and water intake. However, for children on the spectrum, it can be completely different. 

Their episodes of diarrhea and constipation are chronic and they come with a lot of pain.

Can My Child be Constipated if He/She has Daily Movements?

Absolutely. Many ASD children visit the toilet daily, but not with an adequate amount. Our medical team normally tells parents that they should see 8-10 inches of stool per day. If your child skips a day, then they have that much more stool to expel.

Uncommon Signs of Constipation in Autism

As we mention, not excreting enough stool is a sign of constipation, but in addition, other uncommon signs can help you identify it (especially if your child is non-verbal):


-Trouble sleeping.

-Aggressive behaviors.

-Loose stool.

-Toe walking (a sign that your child can be withholding poop).

-Bloated belly.

-Pressuring his/her tummy against things.

-Poop accidents.

-Wet bed (Too much stool in the gut doesn’t leave room for the bladder to expand, so urine accidents become more common.)


The following chart will help you identify the level of constipation that your child presents:

*** If your child’s stool looks like type 1 or 7 we encourage you to visit your GP to determine the best way to ease it.


Diarrhea in Autistic Children

Frequent diarrhea can be identified when your child either visits the toilet several times a day or when the stool presents a mushy liquid consistency.

Possible causes of diarrhea include: 


  • Too much:  Fruit, Magnesium, Vitamin C, Essential fatty acid (Omega 3s), or Fiber.
  • Drinking bathwater that contains Epsom salts
  • A reaction to food/additive
  • Parasites 
  • Bacterial overgrowth
  • Antibiotics 
  • Infection 
  • Inflammation in the intestines
  • Medications such as Risperidone, Abilify, and some prescriptions are used to treat ADD/ADHD.
  • Other issues that need to be identified by a pediatric gastroenterologist


Simple Solutions To Alleviate Diarrhea and Constipation 

The following solutions will help your child improve his/her overall GI health, thus easing both constipation and diarrhea respectively:


  • Eliminate gluten, dairy, soy, artificial ingredients, and limit sugar.
  • Bananas and nuts can also be very constipating. Monitor their intake.
  • Lots of whole foods, fruits, and vegetables are helpful.
  • Increase water intake good for constipation and key to prevent dehydration in diarrhea.
  • Include fermented foods in your child’s diet (Good to increase microbiota).
  • If that doesn’t help, investigate other options like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Failsafe diet, or a rotation diet.

The following chart was provided by TACA, regarding products that are considered suitable for ASD children with chronic constipation:



Remember, finding out what works for your child takes time and effort. 

Note: No strategy/approach/diet/medication works immediately. Be patient and take the time to find out what works best for your child. 

You got this Mommy!!!

At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation, and improving brain function. We also created an autistic community on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.

 Remember, you are not alone!