Constipation: A Commonly Uncomfortable Topic for Children

By Monica Urquiola, APRN

 

What is constipation?

Constipation in children is a common complaint that can be a transient or chronic issue. Constipation is defined as infrequent stooling and/or the passage of hard, dry, and/or large stools.

 

What are symptoms of constipation?

Constipation frequently causes abdominal pain, bloating, and excessive gas. These symptoms in children are often associated with a poor appetite. Some children may have stool marks in their underwear. Your child may complain that a bowel movement was painful, or you could see streaks of blood in the stool or on toilet paper.

 

How can I help to prevent constipation?

A healthy diet, adequate hydration, and active lifestyle are the keys to preventing constipation. Diets should be rich in fiber, including at least 5 or 6 helpings of fruits and vegetables daily. Children should drink plenty of water and get at least 1 hour of physical activity every day. Excessive dairy such as cow’s milk or cheese or a starch-heavy diet also are frequent causes of constipation. Limit milk intake to no more than 16 oz daily, and limit cheese and starch intake to 2-3 times a week. Children should be encouraged to sit on the toilet after meals at least 1 or 2 times daily to encourage healthy toilet habits.

 

How can I help my child if constipation seems to be a chronic issue?

If your child continues to have symptoms of constipation despite a healthy diet, getting exercise, and maintaining good toilet habits, make an appointment with your child’s healthcare provider to discuss longer term treatments of this issue. Chronic constipation that is left untreated can lead to more serious consequences such as stool withholding and stool accidents. We are here to help! Give our office a call at 407-566-9700 to schedule a consultation today!

 

 

 

 

 

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