Although constipation in children is a fairly common childhood problem, it can cause a lot of stress to the child’s parents. And with good reason, because having bowel movements regularly is one of the most basic needs of the body. In this post, we will discuss how to relieve constipation in children with natural remedies.
Many times we start training children to go to the bathroom when they are not ready yet. This causes them to begin to “hold on” as long as they do not use the bathroom. By holding on, the stools harden and when the child finally cannot take it anymore, it is very painful to pass them.
This creates a vicious circle because then, it is not only the resistance of going to the bathroom, but the child begins to think that it will hurt every time he goes to the bathroom. That fear of pain causes the child to resist as much as possible to give off the body without knowing that by enduring it is making the problem and the pain continue.
Natural remedies to relieve constipation in children
- The child should never be punished
- A diet low in fiber causes constipation
- Fruits rich in fiber
- Commercial products to relieve constipation
- Glycerin suppositories
- Intestinal stimulants
- Magnesia milk
- Mineral oil
- Emotional causes of childhood constipation
- The child should never be punished: Something very important to keep in mind is that you should never punish a child for having an “accident” and be in pants. This can cause negative emotions in the child that will cause him to be afraid to relieve himself.
- A diet low in fiber causes constipation: Another cause of constipation in children is feeding. A diet low in fiber and high in fat, dairy products, bananas and refined and processed foods may be causing constipation in your child. To avoid constipation and maintain soft stools it is good to include liquids, fruits, vegetables, bran cereals and other foods containing soluble and insoluble fiber in the diet. It is very important to consume the right amount of liquids since a diet high in fiber and low in liquids can cause constipation. The recommended amount of daily fiber in grams is the child’s age +5. That is, for a child of 6 years, the recommended amount is 11 grams of fiber daily.
- Bath with warm water to relax the intestine: Another remedy that works very well is to put the child in a hot tub of water. The warmth of the bath helps to relax the child and the anal sphincter to make it easier to eliminate. You can add 2 tablespoons of baking soda to relieve you in case you have hemorrhoids. You can also give a gentle massage in the stomach.
- Fruits rich in fiber: Children usually like fruit so an easy home remedy for constipation is to give them fiber-rich fruits such as raspberries, mango, papaya, kiwi, plums, apples, pears, blackberries, and guavas.
- Liquids: It is extremely important to accompany the liquid fiber. The recommended drinks for children suffering from constipation are water, apple juice, pear juice, grape juice and pineapple juice. You can mix the juice with the same amount of water to reduce the amount of sugar.
- Commercial products to relieve constipation: In some cases, the stools have hardened so much that more aggressive methods are needed to defecate. In this case, you can go to some medication that they sell at the pharmacy. Always check with your pediatrician to recommend what is the best option for your particular child.
- Glycerin suppositories: Glycerin suppositories are quite effective in eliminating hardened stools. The only problem is that it is very difficult and uncomfortable, especially for children, to keep the suppository for the required time (15 to 30 minutes) since the suppositories give the feeling of “really wanting to go”. If the child goes to the bathroom very soon, all that comes out is the suppository and the fecal impaction remains intact. One option is to tell a story or play a game with the child in a way that distracts as much as possible and the suppository has time to take effect.
- Intestinal stimulants: Another option is to buy some laxative that stimulates the intestine. It is not recommended to use this type of laxative for a long period of time since the intestine can “get used” to the stimulant and eventually need the medicine to be able to eliminate the stool. But for a short period of time, while the intestine is cleaned and the impacted feces are eliminated, many pediatricians recommend this type of laxative. Although no prescription is needed to buy these medications, it is necessary to consult with the pediatrician to know exactly how much and for how long the product should be used. Many times the instructions that come on the package are different from those recommended by the doctor since they know the case of the particular child. In addition, many parents stop giving the medication to the child when they have had a large evacuation, but the doctors recommend continuing to give the laxative for several more days.
- Magnesia milk: Milk magnesia is another product that is bought at the pharmacy that does not need a prescription. The way these laxative works is by drawing water into the intestine so that the stool is easier to pass. It can be diluted in juice to improve the flavor.
- Mineral oil: Mineral oil is a good lubricant and can be mixed with juice or oatmeal to make it easier for the child to ingest it.
- Emotional causes of childhood constipation: Sometimes the cause of constipation is emotional. Anxiety, depression, panic attacks, stress or some trauma can cause constipation. In this case, the recommendation is to consult with a psychologist. Other causes of constipation that also require professional help are bowel or colon diseases and hypothyroidism.
- Exercise: Make sure your child is doing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. A sedentary life is a common cause of constipation.
- Do not rush to remove the diaper: Although many parents are anxious that their children stop using diapers, this is an important stage in the child’s life and doing so very soon may leave sequels. Some children have a strong character and can start to put up with not going to the bathroom. This moment of rebellion can become an involuntary habit in which the body begins to ignore the desire to go.
- Search medical care: If the child has a fever, vomiting, blood in the urine, abdominal swelling, weight loss, fissures in the anus, intestinal protrusion through the anus, it is necessary to seek immediate medical attention.