How can I tell if my child is constipated?
Kids generally have defecation a number of times a week. Your child might go after every meal, or she may wait a day or more between. Her specific pattern depends upon what she eats and drinks, how active she is, and how quickly she digests food.
If you’re concerned that your child may be constipated, watch for these signs:
- Less frequent bowel movements than typical, particularly if she hasn’t had one in at least four days and is clearly uneasy when she does
- Tough, dry stools that are uneasy for her to pass
- Extremely watery stool in your child’s diaper (or stained underwear if she’s potty-trained). Do not presume this is diarrhea– it may really be evidence of constipation. Liquid stool can slip past the blockage in the lower intestinal tract and wind up in your child’s diaper or underclothing.
Why is my child getting constipated?
Constipation in kids usually results from numerous elements. The most likely reasons are:
Consuming excessive milk. Filling up on milk instead of eating food high in fiber is often the primary cause of constipation in toddlers and preschoolers.
Consuming too many other low-fiber foods. Your child might wind up constipated if he consumes a great deal of cheese, yogurt, or peanut butter, for example, and insufficient fruits, vegetables, and entire grains.
Toilet anxiety. If your child feels forced about toilet training, he may deliberately keep his stool. If he shows all the signs of straining to have a defecation– stiffening his body and getting red in the face– he may really be attempting to hold it in.
Even if your child is potty-trained, he may not take adequate time on the toilet to completely empty his bowels. That can cause a buildup of feces that makes the colon cramp and stretch. A bigger colon can lead to hard stools that are larger than typical and challenging to pass– which just makes your child a lot more hesitant to use the potty.
Many children with constipation do not have a hidden medical problem (such as low thyroid or a bowel anatomic abnormality) however if a child has persistent issues with constipation, it is very important for a healthcare supplier to thoroughly think about any possible underlying problem.
Dehydration. If your child becomes dehydrated, his system will react by absorbing more fluid from whatever he consumes or drinks– as well as from the waste in his bowels. The outcome is hard, dry stools that are challenging to pass.
Lack of activity. Movement helps blood flow to your child’s digestion system, so he might experience trouble in the BM department if he’s not active.
Underlying medical issues. Constipation is in some cases a symptom of other conditions, including lactose intolerance, hypothyroidism, diabetes, and cystic fibrosis.
How can I treat my child’s constipation?
Here are some things to attempt:
- Prevent giving your child too many foods that have a binding result. These consist of bananas, cooked carrots or squash, and large amounts of dairy items such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. Two cups of dairy a day are sufficient for a child. (For example, 1 cup is a cup of milk or yogurt, or 1 1/2 ounces of hard cheese.) To find out more, see our overviews of feeding your toddler or preschooler.
- Boost your child’s fiber consumption. Offer her plenty of entire grains, fruits, and vegetables. Offer apricots, plums, peas, beans, broccoli and, obviously, prunes. If she doesn’t like the taste of prunes, try including prune juice to her milk: Just 1 ounce of prune juice in half a cup of milk is really reliable.
- To assist keep your child’s stools soft, increase the quantity of fluid she drinks. Water is your best option, but a little prune juice or apple juice can assist. Limit your child’s juice intake to 1/2 to 3/4 cup (4 to 6 ounces) a day to avoid tooth decay and a destroyed cravings. Encourage her to drink a minimum of 32 ounces of something besides milk each day.
- Encourage her to travel or walk every day to obtain the blood streaming to all her organs.
- Massage your child’s belly. Procedure 3 finger-widths listed below her navel on her lower left side, and apply gentle but firm pressure there with your fingertips. Press up until you feel a firmness or mass. Maintain gentle but consistent pressure for about three minutes.
- Do not pressure your child to toilet train before she’s ready. Requiring her to use the potty can make her afraid or resentful, and she could wind up withholding bowel movements. If you observe your child doing this, increase the amount of fiber she consumes (see above) and back off on training. Wait to attempt once again until you spot the signs she’s truly prepared.
- Encourage your child to use the potty as soon as she feels all set to poop. If she says she never feels ready, try having her invest five to 10 minutes on the toilet after breakfast and dinner. (Children who have actually been constipated for a long time might have difficulty perceiving that their anus is complete.) Make it an enjoyable experience by reading a book to her while she’s sitting on the potty. But don’t require her to remain there if she does not wish to or she’ll begin to believe using the toilet is a punishment.
- Talk to your child’s doctor about other treatment options. If your child is extremely constipated, the doctor might suggest utilizing an over-the-counter stool softener, lubricant (such as mineral oil), laxative, or suppository. A glycerin suppository will stimulate your child’s anus and help her pass a stool. Using a suppository sometimes is great, but don’t do it regularly because your child could end up counting on them to have a defecation. Keep in mind: If your child is intentionally keeping back her stools, treating her with suppositories or an enema might be incredibly distressing to her. Constantly talk to your doctor prior to turning to this type of treatment.
- If your child is passing such difficult, dry stools that you see a little blood or even minor tears (cracks) in the delicate skin near the opening of her anus, you can use some aloe vera cream to the area to assist it recover. Be sure to discuss the fissures to your child’s doctor.
When should I call the doctor?
Call the doctor if your child isn’t really eating, reduces weight, or has blood in his stool. Or if basic treatments, such as adjusting his diet, aren’t helping his condition. Do not give your child a laxative without consulting his doctor first.