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Constipation in Children

What is Constipation?

Constipation refers to the inability of a child to remove stool from his/her abdomen at the rate at which it is formed. It is caused because of a combination of symptoms due to the retention of the stool in the body. Children who have daily bowel movements may also have constipation. Some of the symptoms of constipation include abdominal pain, loss of appetite, small, firm balls of stool, and the urge to pass stool and leakage of small amounts of stool into the child’s underwear. Given below are some of the commonly asked questions about constipation in children that have been answered by Experts.

Can a change in diet cause constipation in a child?

A change in the diet can cause constipation in some children. This can also lead to disruption of stool patterns and habits. In some cases, the child’s eating habits and temperament may also be affected because of this.

How can a formula fed baby be treated for constipation?

Constipation may be more common in a formula fed babies than a baby that is given breast milk. The brand of the formula may be changed if the child becomes constipation. The parent may also give the baby extra water between the feeds along with normal milk. If the baby is more than 2 months old, then the baby may also be given fruit juice which acts as a laxative.

How can chronic constipation be controlled in children?

Chronic constipation in children may be controlled by making certain dietary changes. Children may be given unprocessed, course food which will leave a residue in the bowel. Parents can give them salads and sprouts with yoghurts, leafy vegetables and other vegetables without removing the skin, and fruit pulps should be given instead of fruit juices. Children who are constipated can also eat bananas and figs. Parents should avoid giving the children meat, cola, chocolate and refined flour bakery items. Besides changes in the diet, the children should be put into the habit of visiting the toilet at a set time every day. The child should be encouraged to breathe deeply and relax. The children may also need laxatives daily or on alternate days for a short period of time.

How can constipation be treated in a 6 month old child?

Parents may increase fluids if a 6 month old child is constipated. The parent may give the child water between breast and bottle feeding. The child’s kidneys will be mature enough to handle the water at 6 months. If the water does not help reduce the problem, the parents may try giving the child prune juice. This juice will reduce the problem within 24 to 48 hours. The parents may also give the baby fruits like mangoes, plums and pears. Laxatives may be avoided as it may not be safe for a 6 month old child. If the child takes solid foods, then the parents may try and give him/her oats and barley cereal instead of rice cereal and bananas.

Constipation is a common problem in children. It occurs when the child is not able to bring out the stool from the body at a normal rate. Because of the accumulation of the stool in the system, the child can experience discomfort and abdominal pain. There are various ways to treat constipation. Sometimes, a little bit of change in the child’s diet can make a lot of difference and at other times the child may have to be given a laxative to treat the problem. It is important for parents to know how to control the constipation in their child as it may not always be possible to take the child to a doctor. You may ask an Expert if you have any questions about constipation in children and its treatment.
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