It is not unusual for children to occasionally suffer from the constipation. However, when it happens, it is best to use natural remedies and laxatives because a child’s body is still developing and it is better to avoid medication and chemical formulations.
Constipation is a very common and uncomfortable condition characterized by irregular and painful bowel movements and hard stool. Constipation affects both children and adults. It can happen for a number of reasons, but most often it is caused by insufficient intake of fluids and foods rich in dietary fiber and also by the lack of exercise and physical activity. Constipation means that a person is unable to have a bowel movement is several days, and the stool is usually very hard and painful to pass. Hemorrhoids are a common consequence of constipation.
Sometimes constipation is so persistent it requires the use of laxatives. However, laxatives can cause addiction if they are used properly. Fortunately, there are natural alternatives to pharmaceutical laxatives, and they are particularly suitable for children.
Natural laxatives and constipation relief
Mild constipation can be solved with slight dietary changes. This means increased intake of water and of natural sources of fiber, like fresh fruits and vegetables. If it does not help, mild laxatives can be given to children, but taking care not to overuse them. Even natural laxatives can cause diarrhea, and it is certainly an undesired condition.
Water is the best and the most effective natural laxative, and one of the safest for children. When the body does not get enough water, the intestine absorbs it from the stool, which becomes harder and more difficult to pass.
Foods rich in fiber should be included in children’s daily diet in order to prevent constipation. These foods can also have a laxative effect, and they include fresh fruit and vegetables, especially broccoli, kale, green leafy vegetables, apples, cabbage and peas, and also whole grains and cereals.
One of the most popular natural laxatives and the main ingredient of many laxative formulations is psylium husk. Psylium husks, which are suitable for children, contain a large amount of soluble fiber and also a substance called mucilage, which swells up in contact with water. This softens the stool and makes it easier to evacuate.
Flaxseed has a similar effect due to its high fiber content. It can be added to children’s cereal.
Prune juice is yet another popular natural laxative. It relieves constipation but it is also very beneficial for the overall health, because it contains potassium, iron and vitamin A. However, prunes or prune juice should not be given to children in large amounts. For infants, one or two spoons of prune juice will do the job.
Pears and pear juice are equally effective laxatives. They are mild with no side effects and they go well if mixed with apples or apple juice.