Children and constipation
Seeing your little ones in discomfort can be distressing for you at any time, including if they’re suffering from constipation. But fear not. Constipation in children is common and a few simple changes in diet and lifestyle can go a long way to easing symptoms.
What are the signs of constipation?
Children can be just like adults: some might pass stools three times a day, others three times a week. Typically, constipation may be defined as having a bowel movement two or fewer times a week. And signs of constipation can differ. They might be hard stools, or simply trouble going in the first place.
However, if your child is suffering abdominal pain, nausea, fever, vomiting, loss of appetite, a hard stomach or blood in their stools, then immediately consult your doctor to rule out anything more serious.
What can cause constipation?
Lack of fibre
If your child’s diet lacks regular fibre-rich whole grains, fruits and vegetables, then they may be missing vital nutrients that can help combat constipation and make it easier to pass stools. However, eating too many of some foods, such as bananas, can increase the chance of constipation — so be careful not to overdo it.
Not enough liquid
Constipation and hard stools can be caused by drinking too little and being dehydrated. It’s important to make sure your children drink water regularly, and stay hydrated in excessive heat or if they’re suffering from a fever.
Too much milk
While not enough liquid can cause issues, so can too much of the wrong one. Milk is great for kids, but its high-protein, low-fibre content means that it can also negatively impact their digestion.
Movement helps bowel movement. A lack of physical activity could be a cause of your child’s slow digestion and constipation.
Sometimes inflammation and redness around the bottom can be the cause of constipation, not just a symptom of it. Check to see if your child has any additional discomfort around the rectum.
The digestive system can get thrown out of balance by everyday changes. Travel for a holiday, a lack of sleep, lots of activity, or the introduction of a new home or sibling can trigger constipation.
If your child is taking medicine for another illness, this could be a cause of constipation. Check with your doctor and, where appropriate, seek alternative remedies to bring relief.
The not-so obvious
In rare cases, there can be something else causing your child’s constipation. If the problem persists or you have any concerns, consult your doctor for guidance.
More often than not, making small changes at home can help relieve your child’s constipation. Using gentle laxatives like MICROLAX® can also ease your little one’s constipation usually within 5-20 minutes.