5% of pediatric checkups have a principal complaint of constipation in children; moreover, the prevalence rate of constipation in children is expected to be 30%. Constipation in children is prevalent but it should not be ignored as it may have serious consequences. If not treated appropriately it can lead to nausea, abdominal pain, or rectal bleeding. Constipation in children is defined as the gastro illness in which the child may have
- Infrequent bowel movements
- Hard, dry, or lumpy stools
- Difficulty and pain while passing the stools
Although constipation in children can occur due to various reasons it can also be a symptom of some other serious medical illness. Diagnosing constipation in children is tough as either they feel shy or they are not sure on their own how to describe the inconvenience. Consulting a pediatrician near you will definitely help parents to diagnose and treat effectively any type of constipation.
How do you know if your kid is suffering from constipation
Before getting into the symptoms and diagnosis of constipation in children, let’s discuss the causes of constipation in our little ones. Improper diet is the biggest cause of constipation in children. Not eating enough high fiber foods and not drinking enough fluids are the most common reasons for constipation in children. The stress of a new place or an event like traveling, moving to a new house, starting school can also result in constipation.
Sometimes kids also feel shy while toilet training sessions and they start holding the poo. This leads to a vicious circle of constipation. The more they hold it the worsen it gets over time. Moreover, constipation can also be caused due to any other medical condition or as a side effect of any medicines.
The symptoms of constipation in children include:
- Not doing a poo at least 3 times a weak
- The poo is large and hard
- Bleeding during or after having a poo,
- Stomach pain
- Annoyed behavior
- Crossing legs during toilet training
- Making tough faces during the poo
People often ask how to know if a toddler has constipation and the easiest answer is to visit a pediatrician near you. Constipation in toddlers cannot be easily diagnosed as you might be thinking by looking at soiled diapers that bowel movements are normal. Actually, it can be constipation or other gastro illness.
A visit to a child specialist can easily diagnose constipation in children as the pediatrician can also use extensive testing for more severe cases. The seriousness of the issue can be diagnosed by just checking the symptoms and medical history of the child. If needed, the doctor may also conduct a physical examination of the child’s anus to validate constipation.
How to prevent constipation in children
Dr. Junaid Jahangir Abbasi is a big believer in “prevention is better than cure” and he always finds ways to prevent illnesses in children. Following are some key tips to prevent constipation in children:
- Include nutrients, fiber, proteins, and vitamins in the diet of children who have started solids. For breastfeeding or formula feeding babies, well-scheduled feeding patterns are suggested. Don’t give solid foods until prescribed.
- Increase the frequency of drinking fluids. Water-based fluids are very helpful for constipation in children.
- Keep your children physically active and incorporate various fun activities that include exercise.
- Ensure a good toilet training session. Make sure that the child is sitting in an appropriate posture with the feets flat on the floor
- Teach your children not to hold the poo or urge them to use the washroom.
- Make sure to eliminate any inconveniences while pooing. Stay calm and teach them not to worry about the urge to use the washroom.
Home remedies for constipation in children
Following are some tips from Dr. Junaid Jahangir Abbasi for children suffering from constipation:
- Water is the key. Increase the water intake if you are starting to see any symptoms of constipation in your child. You can also use fruit juices if the kid is not drinking water.
- If the child has started solids, increase the intake of healthy fats like coconut milk and nut butter.
- Use a toddler potty for a better position that makes pooing easy.
- Apple juice, white grape, and pears are believed to be good for constipation in children.
- Gently massaging your baby’s stomach and lower abdomen in a clockwise direction. Wait for at least a 45-minute after feeding the child before a poop massage. Although massage is an effective way to treat constipation it is suggested to consult your pediatrician prior.
- Bananas, ice cream, cheese, white rice, rice cakes, and other white bread products are suggested to avoid if the child is showing symptoms of constipation.
- Hot showers are also believed to relieve pain during constipation.
Constipation in children is prevalent, but it can also be painful and disturbing for both the child and parents. Usually, it does not get severe but if proper guidelines are not followed, other illnesses can also start to develop. Seek professional help from a pediatrician near you as only a child specialist can prescribe proper medications after examining the circumstances.