constipation in children

Constipation In Children

Recognise symptoms early and react appropriately

Symptoms

Constipation in children is more of a common problem than you might think. Obvious signs include painful or infrequent passing of stools (fewer than three times a week) – there might be other tell tail signs and initial indications: examples include a bad temper and lethargy, loss of appetite, stomach pain, foul-smelling wind, and dry or hard stools. Diarrhea can also be a sign of constipation: the hardened stool blocks the child’s bowels, so only watery and mushy stools can pass. Read up more about potential constipation symptoms here.

Nutrition tips

To maintain healthy digestion, children need a high fibre diet with lots of fruit, vegetables and wholemeal products.

Regular toilet time

It’s a good idea to encourage your child to use the toilet at the same time of the day, e.g. first thing in the morning or after a particular meal in the day. Particularly for a younger child, you may get better results by telling, not asking. Instead of suggesting, “Do you need to go to the bathroom?” you could simply say, “Time to go to the bathroom now.” This will help their body develop a healthy digestive cycle.

Causes

There can be many causes of constipation in children: it’s not uncommon for children to simply hold their stool back – for example because they don’t like using the toilet in certain places, they are anxious because of potty training at home or they have had constipation before and remember the pain. Other possible causes could be a lack of fibre in their diet, not drinking enough water, or the side effects of medication. Whatever the cause, it’s a priority to find relief so that they can use the toilet in comfort .

Drink enough

Drinking plenty of fluids is really important to avoid constipation in children. Water and fruit juices are best.

Note

If you notice unusual or unexpected changes in your child's toilet behavior, or if you simply feel concerned, then do pay a visit to your doctor.