The same way that adults, child’s constipation is a problem common in babies and children of all ages. Pain when they have to expel stools or even a bad mood can be some of the consequences of this problem particularly generalized. But, what is the cause?
First of all, we have to define what it is considered that a child is constipated when they have problems emptying their stomach, mainly caused by the pain they feel because of the hardness of the stools. In many occasions, the pain they feel can be very intense, actually, on some occasions, doctors might think the child has appendicitis. But there’s nothing further from reality.
Secondly, what you should have in mind is that in this article you will find the right information based on the most common problems that cause constipation in children. On top of this, the solutions for these problems. But under no circumstances is the substitute of the professional assessment, since it’s the pediatrician the professional who has to give the adapted solutions to your congested child.
Causes of constipation
In general, you can find five main reasons why this happens. A Low fiber diet, an excess of dairy products, not drinking enough liquids, bad habits or a lazy intestine. To these problems are associated with specific solutions but we would have to stop closely to see other worrying causes, like some foods and the excess of sugar.
Did you know that children under 6 years old usually have problems digesting sugar? Jams or fruit juices have a high content in sugar and children don’t process them very well, causing intestinal problems. If you have decided to give jam to your child, for example, use one low in sugar. Besides, plum jam is specially intense, so they might experience pain in the stomach: it is better to change it for a pear jam which is more soft and it is easier to digest.
Children love sweets, cakes and in general, foods with a high content in saturated fats. In this sense, it is convenient to educated children based on good eating habits, since it is a need. Have in mind that milk with a lot of cream, cheese, ice cream, rice or white bread are not easy digested by a child’s organism, which might take to constipation.
Remedies for child´s constipation
To the five main reasons quoted before, there are five solutions to these. Here we show you different ways to treat each problem:
Low fiber diet. Fruits, vegetables, beans or cereals with fiber are more than enough to avoid hard stools and lack of stools. The first thing that should be done when a kid is congested is to increase the amount of fiber in the diet. Fruits that can make worse the child’s constipation are apples and bananas, while the fruits that help to stop it are oranges, mandarins, plums, pineapples and of course, kiwis.
The same way vegetables help with congestion, except potatoes, carrots or pumpkins. Actually what really it’s beneficial is to increase the amount of veggies the child eats like chards, spinaches, asparagus or green beans.
On the other hand, the cereals you give your children should be integral. And what about beans? The less cooked they are the better.
Excess of dairy products. If your child is constipated and drinks more than half a littler of milk everyday, careful: in this case, you should reduce considerably the dose of dairy products. When we have big amounts of calcium, these are not absorbed and makes the stools hard.
Not drinking enough liquids. And specially in summer, a season when we prepare bags with everything we could think of. But sometimes we forget things! But not this time. Remember that besides taking water with you because of the high temperatures, it is important for children to drink water to avoid that stools are hard. If the body has no water, it will try to obtain it from other parts and it will provoke stools to be hard and dry. Can juices help? This isn’t the best, because these have a high content in sugar and little fiber and can cause pain. Fruit is better eaten the whole thing, all natural.
Bad habits. Some children forget to go to the bathroom. Yes, it sometimes can happen. Even If they want to go, if they see it is not the right moment they decide not to go. The result of this decision is that they will wait until they find the right moment until the day they can’t anymore, they might even be afraid of the painful result. What can we do in this cases? Try to make a routine for your child to go everyday at the same time to the bathroom, so their body gets used to it.
Lazy intestine. Naturally, there are people that have an intestine that doesn’t move a lot or that to move it needs more stimulus. In these cases, the solution is in the four previous points, although if the problem continues it might be appropriate to go to laxatives. But careful! It isn’t a decision you should take lightly, you must ask a specialist.
In conclusion, what’s most important is to teach our children right eating habits to help them have a good health. A well balanced diet besides physical exercise are the best ways to prevent constipation before it becomes a problem and you have to find solutions to it. Because prevention is better than cure.