Constipation in Children – Causes, Symptoms and Prevention
Constipation is a condition that affects people of all ages – problem common in children. Children with constipation may feel constantly bloated or infrequent bowel movements that result in the passage of small amount of hard, dry stool, and can interfere with their ability to go about their daily tasks. Most cases of constipation are mild and can be easily treated with changes in diet and exercise.
Causes of Constipation
Most cases of constipation aren’t caused by a specific condition and it may be difficult to identify the exact causes. However, there are a number of things that contribute to the condition, including as follows:
1. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle
Making changes in your child’s diet will help constipation. If they are not consuming enough fiber-rich foods or fluid, your child’s stools can harden and become more difficult to pass. Eating high-fat meats, dairy products, eggs, sweets and processed foods may also cause constipation.
2. Lack of Exercise or Physical Activity
Children who don’t move around much or not getting enough exercise are often constipated. Exercise helps with digestion.
3. Not Enough Fluid
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of chronic constipation. Water is very important for the digestion.
4. Not Enough Fiber
Children may become constipated if they don’t eat enough high-fiber foods, like vegetables, fruits, and whole grains.
5. Ignore the Urge to Pass Stools
Holding in your bowel movements can also cause impaction, which is a more serious concern that needs medical intervention.
6. Emotional Issues
Stress also can lead to constipation. When kids feel anxious about something like starting at a new school or problems at home, they can also get constipation.
Symptoms of Constipation
Not having a bowel movement for a few days
Bowel movements that are hard, dry, lumpy and difficult to pass
Pain while having a bowel movement
Having belly (abdominal) bloating, cramps, or pain
Traces of liquid or pasty stool in your child’s underwear — a sign that stool is backed up in the rectum
Blood on the surface of hard stool
How to Prevent Constipation?
You can help prevent constipation in your child with these things:
Serve your child a fiber-rich foods in her/his diet including beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grain cereals and breads.
Encourage your child to drink plenty of water and other liquid. Water is often the best.
Encourage your child to stay as active as possible and try to get regular exercise. Regular physical activity helps to stimulate your child’s normal bowel function, as it increases muscle activity in the intestines.
Remind your child to heed nature’s call. Don’t ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. Allow yourself to have enough time to have a bowel movement without any distractions and feeling rushed. Take your time.