Constipation is a common problem in children. It generally reflects poor eating habits and consumption of constipating foods such as milk, cheese etc. It can be also be associated with insufficient intake of water and other fluids. A constipated child has difficulties when it comes to passing stool. Defecation is rather painful and once it occurs it may worry parents a lot.
Severe Constipation in Children: Causes
Constipation in infants most commonly occur when a child is introduced to baby formula milk. Furthermore, even intake of whole cow milk can lead to this problem. Constipation is also possible after solid foods are introduced in a child's diet. Similarly to adults once the children are old enough to consume all kinds of food they need to consume sufficient amount of food rich in fiber and this way the problem with constipation will be successfully prevented.
Even if a child eats properly and consumes appropriate food, constipation may occur. In this case the problem is connected to a low and insufficient intake of fluids (water, milk, fruit juices etc).
In some children constipation is associated with consumption of junk food and too much sweets such as chocolate and other refined sugar. Another cause of constipation is intake of certain, medications, vitamins or mineral supplements. Iron supplements, for example, commonly lead to constipation.
One more cause of constipation in children is connected with child's habits and behavior. Namely, some children refuse to pass stool since they are busy playing at the the particular moment. Children may also abstain from going to bathroom if they are in school since they feel embarrassed to ask teacher to let them go to the rest room. Regular postponing of defecation leads to hardening of the stool and may eventually cause constipation. And finally, constipation may occur for no apparent reason.
Severe Constipation in Children: Presentation
Parents should monitor bowel movements of their younger children. If the stool is hard and large this may point to the presence of constipation. Irregular passing of the stool is another characteristic of constipation. In some cases the process of defecation can be very painful and the children cry. And finally, one more symptom is abdominal cramping.
Severe Constipation in Children: Treatment
In case of severe constipation a child is given stool softeners. Apple and prune juice may be helpful but if constipation is more serious the doctors tend to prescribe laxatives. Long term prevention of constipation includes well-balanced diet rich in fiber and low in fats and refined sugar. The child should eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables. And finally, by giving a child toilet training he/ she can get into a regular toilet habit.