How To Treat Constipation In Children?

Children by nature are finicky.  And in that case as basic as going bathroom gets tricky. While some of the kids have regular bowel movements, some can go two, or even more days without having any bowel movements. Parents might panic if they see an empty toilet day after day, but we are here to tell you that it is quite common.

“Approx. 3% of visits to pediatric health care providers are for constipation.”

Usually, constipation is not a sign of serious illness but rather “withholding constipation” or “functional constipation.” So how do you know infrequent bathroom visits are normal for your child, or is your kid constipated? Keep reading to find out.

Is your child constipated?

Usually most of the children have a bowel movement once a day. A child can be considered constipated if he/she doesn’t have a bowel movement more than three times in a week and whose stools are hard to pass. This is perfectly normal once in awhile. But if in case your child’s constipation lasts for two weeks or more, it’s called chronic constipation, and you must see your pediatrician.

A pediatrician may ask you to keep a track of your child’s bowel movements such as how often they occur, how big and hard they are, and if there is any blood in their stool. Here are some signs that you as a parent should look out for:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach ache
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • General crankiness
  • Crying or screaming during bowel movements
  • Ignoring the signs that your child is doing such as clenching the buttocks, turning red, and crossing the legs, sweating, or crying.)
  • Smears or bits of liquid stool in the diaper or underwear (soiling)
  • Ensure that your child is drinking an adequate amount of fluid on a daily basis. Give them fruit juices containing sorbitol such as pear, apple, or prune juice.
  • Corn syrup (about one teaspoonful in 2 ounces [60 mL] of water) can be used to soften stools.
  • Ensure that your child is having adequate fiber intake including cereals, apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, plums, beans, peas, and other foods such as figs, dates, raisins, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage etc.
  • Infants and children who are consuming solid foods should consume a well-balanced diet including foods with fiber.
  • The general rule to intake daily amount of fiber for all children is five grams plus the child’s age.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of constipating foods such as dairy products.
  • Older children should increase the amount of water they drink.

How to treat constipation?

  • Ensure that your child is drinking an adequate amount of fluid on a daily basis. Give them fruit juices containing sorbitol such as pear, apple, or prune juice.
  • Corn syrup (about one teaspoonful in 2 ounces [60 mL] of water) can be used to soften stools.
  • Ensure that your child is having adequate fiber intake including cereals, apricots, prunes, peaches, pears, plums, beans, peas, and other foods such as figs, dates, raisins, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, and cabbage etc.
  • Infants and children who are consuming solid foods should consume a well-balanced diet including foods with fiber.
  • The general rule to intake daily amount of fiber for all children is five grams plus the child’s age.
  • Avoid excessive amounts of constipating foods such as dairy products.
  • Older children should increase the amount of water they drink.

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