Constipation is a very frustrating problem even for adults, but for young children and for their parents it can cause even more nuisance. Parents often mistake their child’s constipation for potty training problem and ignore it for days, when it becomes more difficult to overcome.
Constipation is often result of the diet and of types of foods normally eaten, but it can also be solved by food, that is by including certain foods in the diet that are known for stimulating the bowel movement.
What causes constipation?
For most children, constipation I usually result of a diet that is high in fat and low in dietary fiber. This can mean too much whole milk and dairy products such as yogurt and ice cream, and not enough fresh fruits and vegetables. Greasy and deep fried foods are also known to cause constipation.
Inadequate water intake is also a significant cause of constipation. Water is needed to soften the stool and make it easier to pass, if a person does not get enough water the intestines will absorb it from the stool and make it hard and chunky, resulting in constipation.
Constipation can also be caused by the lack of physical activity.
How to cure constipation
If too much fat and too little fiber causes constipation, it is only logical that it can be cured by reversing this. Children that are older than two years can switch to low fat milk or soy milk and avoid dairy products such as yogurt, ice cream and cheese until the constipation resolves. Since they need calcium, parents must introduce alternative sources of this important mineral, like fortified cereals and orange juice.
The next important thing is to introduce more fiber-rich foods. This means lots of fruits and vegetables, brown rice, whole wheat.
Fluids are very important for constipation relief. Plain water and fruit juices work best, and juices that are traditionally given to cure constipation are apple, pear and especially prune juice.
Certain foods act as mild laxatives, although, since they are natural, they may take some time to start working, usually two to four days. Such foods include raw vegetables, raisins, cooked legumes, prunes and figs, shredded wheat, popcorn, bran cereals, bran muffins, fiber wafers, vegetable soup, fruits with peel, if possible.
Including plenty of fiber in the diet is not going to work unless they are accompanied by plenty of water. Just eating fiber and not drinking water can actually aggravate the problem.
In case constipation persists, it is recommended to consult a physician who will prescribe a laxative that is the most suitable for that particular patient. However, it is recommended to try to cure constipation naturally in young children, as many laxatives have significant side effects.