What is Childhood Constipation?
Constipation is one of the most common illnesses that happens usually around the toilet training age or early school going period in children. Usual instigating factor is stool withholding by the baby which in turn causes hard stools leading to painful defecation. The pain forces the baby to withhold stool for longer times and then the baby gets into the vicious circle of pain, withholding stools and constipation.
When simple constipation becomes an emergency?
1. Baby passes stools less than three times in a week.
2. Stools are very dry and hard like pellets
3. Passing the stools becomes painful
4. Blood black or red pass ed with stools
5. Severe abdominal pain
6. Persistant vomiting
How to manage childhood constipation:
There are few basic steps that can be taken to manage functional constipation of childhood:
1. Proper toilet times: As explained earlier, one of the major causes of functional constipation of childhood is that the child either tries to hold the stools/ or does not empty the bowel completely. We need to give proper time of 5-7 min at least 2-3 times a day for a toddler to empty his bowel.
2. Stool softeners: As hard stools are difficult to pass and cause lot of pain and discomfort to the child, we need to make sure that the child is getting adequate liquids and also apple juice, prune juice, peach juice or lactulose regularly to keep the stools soft.
3. Fiber intake: Processed foods and excessive milk causes significantly low fiber in the intestines resulting in sluggish bowel movements.
For toddlers to to regular and adequate bowel movements, we must ensure adequate fiber intake in for of vegetables, cucumber and medicated fiber powders.