All toddlers suffer from constipation at least once during the early stages of their lives. This problem is considered to be quite common. In most cases the constipation goes away in a couple of days. However, if it sticks for a longer period of time then the toddler is suffering from chronic constipation.
In cases of chronic constipation, toddlers have bowel movements no more than three times during a period of seven days and the stools that they pass are usually big, hard and dry. In case of chronic constipation a child will also experience a swollen belly and abdominal pain. It is not uncommon for a child who is suffering from chronic constipation to lose his or her appetite. When that happens, the parents start to be pretty worried. However, parents need not worry all that much because there are various ways to treat chronic constipation in toddlers.
Causes of chronic constipation in toddlers
Dehydration is the cause that is to blame for chronic constipation in most cases. Children usually do not consume enough amounts of water throughout the day and that leads to dehydration. Constipation also occurs in a period when a toddler switches from breast milk to cow's milk. The same problem sometimes arises when babies make the switch from baby food to solid foods. Certain medicines may also cause constipation in toddlers. A child who does not consume the right amount of fibrous foods has a great chance of suffering from chronic constipation. In some cases it is the early toilet training that can cause chronic constipation. The reason for this is because children may not be comfortable with it and might rebel against it by withholding their stools. Apart from these causes, some physical causes can be the cause of chronic constipation.
Chronic constipation treatment
It is best that the parent takes the child to the hospital at first signs of chronic constipation. The doctor will know how to treat the child just by knowing the symptoms but in some cases he or she may order more tests like digital rectal examination or Anorectal manometry for instance.
A change in a child's diet is probably the best cure for chronic constipation. The introduction of certain fruits and vegetables like spinach, peas, pears and plums is advised. The consumption of oatmeal is also important. The consumption of dairy products should be put on hold for a while.
Another way to treat chronic constipation is by inculcating regular bowel habits. A parent should make sure that the time the child spends on the toilet should be fun for him or her and a parent can achieve that by talking or reading to a toddler.
Tummy massages and warm baths also help in this situation.