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Get Rid of Children's Constipation

Updated on October 9, 2012

What to do if your child is constipated?

Constipation is a common health problem that occurs in any age groups. While constipation isn't regarded as an actual medical problem, it can be a symptom of numerous health problems. Constipation is often an unpleasant condition when bowel movements are irregular and difficult to move and if untreated it can cause more serious bowel obstructions.

In small children, constipation is common and in most cases lasts for several days. You may need to see a medical practitioner if constipation in a child lasts several days.

Constipation in children is usually associated with inadequate intake of fiber and fluid, emotional disruptions and change in regimen. It can be reduced by a moderate increase in fiber, but you have to make sure the child is getting a sufficient fluid intake.

Children on a dairy free diet plan should have proper substitute including calcium supplemented soya or rice milk. Children are encouraged to have five servings daily, if possible 2 from fresh fruit and 3 from vegetables. Children below 5 needs to be encouraged to have a minimum of 5 different preferences. This is to promote a better intake as they grow older.

Some children disregard signs their intestines give them to get a bowel movement. This could occur when children are way too occupied playing and end up neglecting to go to the bathroom.

Most children with irregular bowel movements do not have underlying medical condition. They are usually labeled as having functional constipation or acquired megacolon. In many instances, childhood constipation evolves if the child starts to associate pain with defecation. As soon as pain is linked to the passage of bowel movements, the child starts to withhold stools so that they can stay away from pain. As stool suppressing continues, the rectum slowly accommodates, and the regular need to defecate slowly disappears. The irregular passage of very large and hard stools reinforces the child's association of pain with defecation, leading to worsening stool retention and progressively more unusual defecation dynamics with anal sphincter spasm.

Follow this diet for children over 1 year old:

  • Increase fresh fruit juice (apple, pear, cherry, grape, prunes) (note: citrus fruit juices are not useful). Include fruits and vegetables high in fiber content (peas, beans, broccoli, bananas, apricots, peaches, pears, figs, prunes, dates).
  • Increase wholegrain foods (bran flakes, bran muffins, graham crackers, oat meal, brown rice, and whole wheat breads. Popcorn can be employed if over 4 years old.
  • Restrict milk products such as milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt etc. to 3 portions daily.

You need to motivate your children to drink a lot. However, some children enter into the habit of only drinking squash or fizzy drinks to satisfy their thirst. These may possibly fill them up, making them less likely to consume much food with fiber. So try and control these kinds of drinks, and give water as the main drink. So the next time you know your child has already avoided the habit of inviting constipation into his system.

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    • izettl profile image

      Laura Izett 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

      very useful. I find that my daughter now 4 gets too busy playing and neglects to go to the bathroom. my baby is constpiated if I don't give him prune juice. Even though there are mixed thoughts on giving a 2 month old or very young babies juice, it has worked wonders for him.

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 6 years ago from Canada

      Some sensible advice here. Well done!

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