Bowel patterns vary among children. What is normal to your child may not be the same for others. Ideally, a child goes once or twice in a day for poop, however, it may be more or sometimes less for other kids. Technically, having less than three bowel movements in a week is termed as constipation.
Children with constipation usually suffer from the following common symptoms -
Hard and dry stools.
Irregular bowel movement
Painful passing of stool.
Although constipation is common in children, this can be treated easily without much worry. And, if in case, it does not get cured in a day or two, consult a pediatric gastroenterologist.
WHAT CAUSES CONSTIPATION?
Constipation in kids usually occurs due to the following factors -
Diet. If there is a sudden change in food intake, or there is not enough fibre in a regular diet, then this may lead to constipation.
Medication. If your child is undergoing any other illness, which is making him take strong medicines, then this can be one of the reasons for constipation. Sometimes, medicines which are been given to a child for common flu and fever causes constipation. Hence it is always asked to drink plenty of fluids even during the fever or common flu.
Withholding of poop for prolonged hours. This is quite common in kids of age 2years to 5 years old. Sometimes they withhold their poop-time as they do not want to take a break from their play, or does not want to go away from YouTube, etc. And many kids do feel ashamed of going to poop in front of others. Therefore, due to the withholding of poop for prolonged hours, constipation occurs.
Stressful time. Even stress can lead to constipation in kids. Stress affects the overall health of a kid including bowel movement.
HOME REMEDIES FOR CONSTIPATION
As mentioned earlier, constipation can be well-treated at home, without any much intervention of medications. Following are some useful and helpful home remedies for treating constipation in kids.
Make him drink sufficient water. Dehydration can make your child constipated. Hence, it is important to give your child sufficient water to drink in a day. Water helps to soften stools and hence makes it easily pass through the rectum.
Serve more fibre-based foods. Foods like oats, beans, broccoli, Avocado, popcorns, whole-grain bread or pasta, etc can help a lot in treating constipation in kids. In general, the more natural and unprocessed food is, the higher amount of fibre is present in it. Dietary fibre adds weight and bulk to the stool thus makes it soft and easy to pass through.
Keep your child physically active. Being physically active reduces the time to digest the food and move through the large intestine. Thus, it does not the water get completely absorbed by the stool making it harder and dry. Therefore, doing regular exercise or staying physically active is always helpful for a body.
Avoid giving milk to drink. Although drinking milk is beneficial for overall health, however, for some kids, this may feel often constipated. Too much consumption of milk or any other dairy product (except yoghurt) may disturb your bowel movements. Hence, for a day or two, skip serving milk or cheese to your child to relieve constipation.
Prefer Yoghurt. Yoghurt is the best source of probiotics (live bacteria), which can help your bowel movement to settle down easily. Please note, curd (or dahi) and yoghurt are not the same things. Curd is a dairy product made by curdling milk with any edible acidic substances like lemon, vinegar or even by curd itself. But, Yoghurt is prepared by bacterial fermentation of milk. To prepare yoghurt, yoghurt culture consisting of live bacteria (Lactobacillus Bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilous) are been added.
More apples and bananas. Apples and bananas are rich in fibre and often safe for any digestible issues, and especially in case of constipation. Apple can be served in its stewed or in pureed form, whereas, bananas can be given like the way it is usually been served.
Consider giving over-the-counter medicines (if needed). There are some good over-the-counter medicines available to treat constipation in kids. You can get them from any drug store, however, these medicines should be given when neither of the home remedies has helped in treating constipation in a child. Still, it is recommended to consult with a doctor if you see no improvements in your child's condition.
Avoid serving rice cereals for your child. Rice is less in fibre-nutrient, hence, it hardens the stool instead of making it softer (which is much needed in case of constipation).
Lastly, constipation is not a matter to worry about, however, this should not be overlooked as well. Irregular bowel movements can make your child vulnerable to any other problem, like urinary tract infection, haemorrhoids, etc.
Related: Urinary Tract Infection in Kids