Constipation In Children

Constipation in children is a very common problem. A constipated child has fewer than three bowel movements in a week, has trouble or pain when having a bowel movement , their stool is hard, dry and unusually large or there is blood on the surface of hard stool. Fortunately, most cases of constipation in children are temporary, but it is important that constipation be recognised early to prevent it from becoming a long-term (chronic) problem.  Common causes include:

 

  • Early toilet training and changes in diet

  • A diet that doesn't include enough water and fiber, which help the bowels move properly.

  • Processed foods, cheeses, white bread and bagels, and meats

  • Some medications can make children more likely to be constipated.

  • Not having enough to drink.

  • Weaning from breastmilk to other types of milk

  • Starting solids

 

Eating foods with plenty of fibre and drinking plenty makes stools that are bulky but soft and easy to pass out. Getting plenty of exercise is also thought to help. Some ideas to try to increase your child's fibre intake:

 

  • Jacket potatoes with baked beans, or vegetable soup with high fibre bread.

  • Dried (or semi-dried) apricots or raisins for snacks.

  • Porridge or other high-fibre cereals for breakfast.

  • Having a piece of fruit with every meal

  • Add powdered bran to yoghurt. The yoghurt will feel grainy, but powdered bran is tasteless.

  • Try adding 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed/linseed meal to cereals, soup or mixed into a smoothie

 

Constipation in children usually isn't serious. However, chronic constipation may lead to complications or signal an underlying condition. Take your child to a doctor if the constipation lasts for a long time or your child is in pain.

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“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.” Winston Churchill