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What to Do If Your Child Is Constipated?

You know how uncomfortable and frustrating constipation can be when you are suffering from it. Imagine how your little one feels. There are remedies and suggestions to help ease their discomfort and get them back to regular bowel movements. Now, what should you do if your child is constipated?

If your child shows no improvement with natural methods to ease constipation, please get in touch with Pediatrics of Greater Orlando in Orlando, FL at (407) 704-6912.

How to know if your child is constipated?

Besides being grouchy, he or she may complain of belly aches. Pay attention to whether they go into the bathroom every day and how many times. If they are not going at least once a day, or 2 or 3 times a week, they are probably constipated. Constipation is a leading cause of intermittent abdominal pain in children. It can sometimes be severe enough to lead to vomiting as well.child on the toilet.

Kids can cause constipation by avoiding going. If they are particularly active, they may hold it in because they don’t want to interrupt their game. Some kids are afraid of sitting on the toilet (or a strange toilet) and moving their bowels.

The most likely times children will become constipated happens when they are infants and switch from breast milk to formula, as a toddler when they begin toilet training, and when they start school.

Some children become so accustomed to having hard stools that they consider them “normal”, and flush before they can be inspected. Parents may have to turn off the water to their child’s toilet to try to observe the movements before flushing. If a child passes hard, dry stools, if they make faces and have body language that tells you they are holding it in, or if they have stains in their underwear (encopresis), they may be experiencing constipation.

Home remedies to help your child have normal bowel movements

You may already be doing many of these tips but may need to increase them.

  • Make sure your little one is drinking enough water. Fluids are key to easy bowel movements. Your child might have had painful ones, which has deterred them from getting on the toilet.
  • Give your child plenty of fiber through fresh fruits and veggies. Most kids like fruits so feed them what they like. As for veggies, give them leafy greens like broccoli and spinach. They may turn their nose up, but they need them.
  • Avoid drinks with caffeine and limit junk food. Starchy foods like breakfast cereals, breads, pasta, and even some fruits like bananas can worsen the problem. Mac-n-cheese is constipation in a box.
  • Give them a T-time. This is a specific toilet time. Choose what works for you and them, like after breakfast and after dinner. Encourage them to sit for at least 10 minutes and not rush. They also need to focus on “getting the job done”, not just sitting there watching a Netflix show, scrolling through TikTok or playing Sonic the Hedgehog on their phone.
  • Make sure your child has regular exercise. This encourages bowel movements. Ideally, children should be getting an hour of vigorous exercise every day.

When to consult for your child’s constipation?

Make an appointment with our pediatrician if your child has been unable to pass stool in three or four days, or if you have been noticing intermittent constipation for over two weeks.

A thorough physical exam and a review of medical history should be performed. They will want to know about any other physical signs like vomiting or stool that contains blood, and they may decide to run tests.

They may also recommend a mild stool softener and over-the-counter fiber supplements.

A laxative or enema may provide temporary relief. Do this in consultation with your pediatrician.

Just remember, don’t panic. Most bouts of constipation in children are mild and temporary.

Contact Pediatrics of Greater Orlando at (407) 704-6912 if your child is not responding to any of the natural ways to relieve their constipation.