Childhood Constipation: What it Is and What to Do

· February 4, 2019
Have you noticed any symptoms of constipation in your child? Go ahead and try all the recommendations provided in today’s article. If the problem persists in spite of everything, consult your pediatrician.

Childhood constipation is a disorder that can cause a lot of concern for parents. While it’s one of the most common issues in children, it’s also one of the main reasons for visits to the doctor.

It isn’t considered a disease. However, it can cause other digestive problems that make your child feel bad. In addition, it can become prolonged or repeat itself, eventually requiring medical treatment.

Fortunately, constipation can almost always be resolved through changes in diet and some natural treatments. For this reason, today we want to review some of the primary symptoms and treatment plans for this disorder.

Find out what they are!

What is Childhood Constipation?

Childhood constipation occurs when the regular frequency of bowel movements decreases.

It can be hard to identify in children because their bathroom habits change as they develop. In general, however, if there are less than three bowel movements in a week or the stools are hard and dry, it is an indication of constipation.

This problem can affect infants that are only a few months old, as well as children who are older. It can also be acute or chronic, depending on how it manifests and how long it lasts. The problem is acute when it occurs over a specific time period and is chronic if it lasts for up to a year.

We recommend you read: 7 Home Remedies for Severe Constipation

Symptoms of Constipation in Children

childhood constipation

You need to know your child’s habits well in order to recognize the symptoms of constipation. It should be a red flag if the number of times they go to the bathroom suddenly decreases.

In addition to fewer bowel movements, other symptoms might include the following:

  • Hard, dry stools
  • Pain or excess effort during a bowel movement
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal swelling
  • Gas and burping

What Are the Causes of Childhood Constipation?

Childhood constipation is rarely caused by physical or external environmental factors. While it might be due to the anatomy of the colon or rectum, most of the time it’s the result of poor eating habits and leading a sedentary lifestyle.

Factors that can trigger the appearance of this condition include:

  • Low water consumption and not eating enough food with fiber
  • Over-consumption of astringent foods (bananas, potatoes, rice, apples, chocolate, and sweets)
  • Irregular meal times
  • Early introduction of solid foods for infants
  • Emotional stress
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Taking certain medications
  • Waiting to use the bathroom

Tips to Treat Childhood Constipation

When your infant or child is constipated it’s best to go to the pediatrician to find out if this is a temporary problem or is associated with another disorder. When the problem is mild it can typically be resolved through some simple changes in diet.

However, there are some general habits that will promote relief, regardless of the severity of the symptoms.

Improve their diet

The first step is to improve their diet and add foods that are rich in fiber. This nutrient facilitates good digestion. It can be found in foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Consume more Fluids

childhood constipation

A good amount of water and healthy fluids is key to preventing childhood constipation. This is because fluids increase the volume of the fiber they eat and soften the stools to let them pass through the intestine more easily.

Gentle Massage

This simple step can be soothing for both infants and young children. Massage promotes intestinal transit so this will decrease constipation.

To get the desired effect, use deep and circular movements as if you’re following the hands of a clock.

Encourage Physical Activity

Getting physical activity is important for avoiding and controlling childhood constipation. Children who are sedentary are more likely to develop this problem. On the other hand, those who are very active have better intestinal and digestive health.

Home Remedies for Childhood Constipation

Health professionals and pediatricians only advise taking laxatives when it’s absolutely necessary. Since poor digestion is usually the result of an unhealthy diet, certain natural solutions can help.

Plum tea

The laxative properties in plums will help stimulate bowel movements. It’s also a good idea to consume this as a juice but you can make a simple tea.

Ingredients

  • 1 plum
  • 1 cup of water (250 ml)

Preparation

  • Boil the plum in a cup of water and let it steep.
  • When it’s ready, filter it with a strainer.

Mode of consumption

  • Give your child one to two ounces of this tea twice a day.

Aloe and Olive Oil

childhood constipation

This treatment doesn’t have a great flavor, but it’s one of the best ways to fight intestinal problems in children.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil (5 ml)
  • 3 drops of aloe

Preparation

  • Combine the olive oil and aloe.

Mode of use

  • Give this to your child on an empty stomach.

Honey with Milk

A treatment of honey with milk is one of the preferred ways to alleviate this condition, because children take it very easily.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of organic honey (20 g)
  • 1 cup of lactose-free milk (200 ml)

Preparation

  • Add the honey to a cup of warm milk and mix until it dissolves well.

Mode of use

  • Have your child drink this before going to bed or on an empty stomach.

Have you noticed any symptoms of constipation in your child? Go ahead and try all the recommendations provided in today’s article. If the problem persists in spite of everything, consult your pediatrician.

Mayo Clinic. (2017, August 12). Constipation in children. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation-in-children/symptoms-causes/syc-20354242 Murren-Boezem, J. (Ed.). (2018, July). Constipation (for Parents). Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/constipation.html