Chronic Constipation in Children: Causes and Remedies
Chronic constipation in children is not uncommon. In fact, it is one of the most frequent tummy troubles experienced by the still-fond-of-finger-foods crowd. Unfortunately, there are a number of causes behind consistent bowel blockages in children, and as such, finding instant constipation relief can be quite challenging. More often than not, finding the cause and solution of constipation in children is a process of elimination and multifaceted treatment approaches.
One of the most common causes of chronic constipation in children is simply that the child holds it in. This can be for a number of reasons, but some of the most common are that they are uncomfortable (particularly true in public places) or because they are too busy or distracted to break away from an activity to take time to use the restroom. Oddly enough, according to Mayo Clinic another cause of chronic constipation in children is simply, chronic constipation itself. When children associate going to the bathroom with discomfort and pain, as is common with mild cases of blocked up behinds, it can make them not want to go for fear of the discomfort that could be to come. This can essentially be a double edged sword however; as the children are often left dealing with some of the undesirable symptoms of constipation instead such as tummy upset, loss of appetite, stomach bloating and abdominal pain. It is also not uncommon for children to have difficulty adjusting to using the toilet in some cases where potty training has occurred to rapidly. In this case, chronic constipation in children can be nothing more than the result of a rebellious toddler, using their poop as a game pawn and withholding it out of spite.
Diet plays a substantial role in the digestive health of children. And, as little ones are notorious fans of beige and bland foods and less excited about whole and nutritious selections, it is not unusual for a young child to feel the effects of a chicken nugget and cheese diet in the form of a clogged colon. Unfortunately, diets like these day in and day out that offer little in the way of dietary fiber sources can lead to chronic constipation in children.
The day to day routine is also incredibly important to children when it comes to staying regular, and their little bodies can be greatly affected by changes in normal daily activity. Things like travel and even changes in the weather can contribute to chronic constipation in children. Stress can also play a role and little ones starting school for instance, a rather large change for such a small individual, can cause changes in bowel function.
There are other factors that can contribute to bowel blockages in children, and some of them may be rather surprising. Various medications may play a role in digestive functioning and allergies may be to blame as well. According to Mayo Clinic, an undetected or unidentified allergy to cow’s milk could create constipation in some children.
One of the simplest methods for constipation relief in children, particularly of the acute variety is simply over the counter products and medications that are designed to relieve baby bowel blunders. Most commonly, these are in the form of a pill laxative or suppositories for constipation. It is very important however that when considering medicinal fast relief options that a doctor or pharmacist is consulted for safety. Varying ages as well as underlying health conditions may make some treatment forms unsuitable for certain situations. However, typically these remedies are more appropriate for acute cases of constipation and should not be used long term to manage chronic constipation in children.
A better bet for long term management of constipation in little ones are dietary, home, and lifestyle changes as needed. As explored above, many of the common causes of recurrent constipation are a result of emotional unrest, stress, daily routine challenges and of course, diet. Chronic constipation remedies for these ongoing causes are much different than a short term use medication. Solutions that can help provide long term relief include ensuring that the child is drinking an adequate amount of water (a lack of which can stymie bowel movement) and that their diet incorporates good sources of insoluble fiber such as beans and apples, both great bets for maintaining regularity. Other edibles that can even provide a quick fix and serve as home remedies for constipation include fruit juices like apple and grape, which can produce stools more rapidly and gently. Exercise, extra playtime and other activities that can stimulate the bowel moving muscles of the digestive tract can also be very useful. And, as emphasized by Mayo Clinic, a little bit of extra support, encouragement and patience when trying to coax out constipation goes a long way with fearful little ones.
Chronic constipation in children is not a new problem, and it is a challenge commonly faced by parents and caregivers. By identifying likely sources of the poop predicament and treating the physical, emotional and behavioral causes of prolonged and persistent constipation in little ones, bowel irregularity can quickly become a thing of the past, leaving more time for giggles, high fives and monumental firsts.