Constipation in children is a common issue, and it can be caused by a number of factors. Changes in diet or routine, fear of the toilet, or toilet training too soon may cause problems. Sometimes, kids would rather continue playing than take a bathroom break. Medications, illness, food allergies (especially dairy) and family history can also cause problems.
While a bout of constipation once in a while is not a reason for alarm, if it lasts more than two weeks you should see a pediatrician. Occasionally, an underlying medical condition is the cause of chronic constipation.
Common Symptoms of Constipation
- Fewer than three bowel movements in a week
- Stools that are hard, dry and difficult to pass
- Pain during a bowel movement
- Stomach ache, bloating or nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Avoiding the toilet
Tips for Reducing Symptoms
- Keep them moving. Kids who are less active are more likely to be constipated. Encourage daily exercise and active playtime.
- Encourage better bathroom habits. Remind your child to use the bathroom at regular times throughout the day, especially after meals and as soon as he or she feels the urge to go.
- Watch what they eat. Diets high in sugar and refined foods, or lacking in fiber, can lead to constipation.
- Keep them hydrated. Kids should drink plenty of water throughout the day – anywhere from five to eight 8-oz. cups per day, and more if they’re exercising.
- Try probiotics. Probiotics contain healthy bacteria that are essential for optimal digestion and gut health. We often prescribe Klaire Labs Therbiotic Children’s chewable.
Dr. Smialek is well-versed in using safe, effective, natural treatments for constipation. We will work with you to create a customized treatment plan for your child that might include:
- Nutritional Supplementation
- Nutritional Counseling and Testing
- Allergy Testing and Treatment