Constipation is a common issue in children. The typical signs of constipation symptoms include: soling accidents, bleeding with a bowel movement, bloating and stomach pain. In some cases children with constipation can appear to suffer from diarrhea, which confuses the condition. This is when a large, solid stool has become stuck in the rectum, and a liquid stool passes around the formed stool.
When kids become constipated, they will experience fewer bowel movements. When they do go to the toilet, the stool will be painful or uncomfortable to pass, hard and dry.
There are various causes related to constipation that may include some of the following:
- Withholding stools. This typically occurs when the child holds a bowel movement, caused from stress or not wanting to use a toilet in certain places such as school. Or the child may be afraid of experiencing a bathroom experience that is painful from being constipated previously.
- A low fiber diet that is low in liquids.
- Side effects caused from certain types of medications.
There are 3 main treatments used for constipation cases in children, they typically work hand-in-hand:
These are used to clear out the bowels and are safe for use in children. However, these treatments should only be utilized under the advice of a professional pediatrician. Two of the common mistakes made by parents who give their children stool softeners would be to use a dose that is not large enough, or stopping the treatment plan too soon.
Increased Fluids With a Diet High in Fiber
This approach involves increasing the intake of vegetables and fresh fruits, whole grains and high-fiber cereals along with various legumes, and beans, such as lentils and chickpeas. Yogurt is also a good way to promote better digestive health as it contains probiotics.
While fiber is an extremely important part of treating constipation, so is the increase of fluids. Children who suffer from constipation should be drinking around 6 to 8 glasses of water with an increase in the intake of milk.
Toilet Time that is Regular
Parents should encourage their children to try and go to the toilet in the morning after waking up and after each meal.
Especially for children who are younger, the parent will gain better results from telling instead of asking the child. For results that are satisfactory, parents can combine all of the above.
Constipation Treatment For Toddlers And Infants
Pear, apple and prune juice contain the type of sugar that is poorly absorbed. These juices pass through intestines unabsorbed and retain water in stools. Other types of juices are considered helpful as their sugars are more easily absorbed.
When using apple or pear juice, the juice must be a type of 100% “fruit juice” and not be watered down. This is because watered down juice will not contain a concentration that is high enough to complete the job.
Certain types of children will develop bloating or gas on this treatment. Except for prune juice, fruit juices are not helpful for children above the age of three as their intestines will be more efficient, their intestines will absorb the majority of these sugars.
Foods High In Fiber
When a baby has moved onto eating foods that are solid. It is recommended to substitute refined or white cereals with whole-grain cereals. In addition, it is advisable to introduce vegetables and fruits high in fiber into the diet such as spinach, broccoli, peas, beans, plums, peaches, prunes, pears and sweet potatoes.
Carrot, applesauce and bananas baby food and foods that are thickened using tapioca can cause constipation. For toddlers that eat too much milk, cheese and refined carbohydrates, it is suggested to reduce these and rather substitute with vegetables, fruits, cereals and whole grains.
Certain types of formulas are known to cause constipation. Formulas that have a high concentration of casein or that are thickened using rice cereal are generally more problematic.
It is highly advisable to change the infant’s formula when constipation problems persist. Iron inside infant formulas does not affect constipation problems.
These types of laxatives are recommended when the constipation issues are not responding to other interventions.
“Dark” corn syrup was a treatment used in previous years, but the modern types of preparations don’t contain “osmotically” active substances that are needed for constipation treatments. In addition, there have been warnings about this type of corn syrup carrying “botulinum” spores.
On rare occasions, glycerin suppositories can provide rectal stimulation that can provide relief from the symptoms related to constipation. However, using this treatment on a frequent basis should rather be discussed with a clinician.
Another type of treatment that is not advisable for young babies and toddlers is mineral oils. These stimulant laxatives can be dangerous.