How to Prevent Constipation in Kids

 How to Prevent Constipation in Kids

Constipation is a common problem in kids. As your children grow, their diet and toilet habits evolve and change. Changes in routine, diet, or medication may affect a child’s bowel movements, and constipation can happen. 

The good news is that having a constipated kid is typically nothing to worry about. In most cases, it can easily be treated and even prevented. In rare cases, constipation can become chronic, requiring medical attention. 

Ugonma Okparaocha, MD, and our team at Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center in Bel Air, Maryland are equipped to provide your kids with quality care for all of their health concerns. Here are some of our best tips for preventing constipation in your kids. 

Symptoms of constipation in kids 

Do you recognize the signs of constipation? Many children are unaware of what’s going on with their bodies and may be unable to communicate their discomfort properly. Common symptoms of constipation in kids include:

You also may notice your child tries to avoid passing stool, indicating it may be uncomfortable for them.

Preventing constipation in kids 

If you’ve had a child with constipation, your focus after treating it is typically how to prevent it from occurring again. Try one or several of the following tips. 

Change their diet 

One of the most common causes of constipation in children is poor diet. Your child needs to eat foods with high fiber content to help their developing digestive systems to form and pass soft stool. Great examples of tasty high-fiber foods your children will love are bananas, berries, whole-grain bread, and apples.

Keep them hydrated 

Drinking enough water not only helps treat constipation; it can also help prevent it. Kids often prefer to drink anything other than water, but it’s essential that they get loads of it. Serve water with every meal and even in between. 

Take a look at their medication 

If your child suddenly becomes constipated often after starting a new medication or even when taking old medicines, the drug might be the culprit. Medications like anticonvulsants and iron supplements can cause constipation as a side effect

Speak to your child’s doctor about it. It might be possible to tweak the dosage or recommend an alternative. Your doctor might also prescribe mild laxatives alongside the medication if there are no alternatives. 

Get them to move 

An active physical life is essential for people of all ages, children included. Not only is being physically active good for their overall health and well-being, but it also encourages healthy bowel function. 

Create a toilet routine

One cause of constipation in children is that they simply forget to go or hold on to their stool for too long when wrapped up in other fun activities. This might seem unusual to an adult, but for very active children, it’s easy to get engrossed in school or play and ignore the feeling of needing to go. A good rule of thumb is to get your child to go before bed or after meals. 

Be encouraging 

In some cases, the cause of your child’s constipation might be more emotional than physical. Have you noticed they avoid going to the toilet? Or are they visibly reluctant when having to use the bathroom in certain places? 

Speak to them about it. It could be because they’re too shy to use public toilets or they’re having difficulty with potty training. Whatever the reason, try to get to the bottom of it with love and kind words. 

Treatment for constipation in kids 

If you already have a constipated child and you’re wondering what next steps to take, treatment is simple. In most cases, an over-the-counter laxative designed for children can ease their bowels. 

However, laxative use shouldn’t be routine, and you shouldn’t give your child a laxative without their doctor’s go-ahead. If your child gets constipated often despite your efforts to prevent it, speak to your doctor because the constipation might be a sign of an underlying condition. 

You should also come to see us if your kid’s constipation has lasted more than two weeks or happened several times in a short time frame.

If your constipated child suddenly develops a fever, has blood in their stool, stops eating, or experiences unexplained weight loss or severe pain when passing stool, these are all signs of chronic constipation. Chronic constipation may also indicate an underlying medical condition. 

Our team is equipped to handle constipation complications and any medical concerns you may have for your kids. Schedule a visit with Laurel Pediatric & Teen Medical Center today. Call the office or request an appointment online.

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