Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Constipation in children and how to get rid of it

Constipation in children:

Constipation in children is very common and can be a problem caused by certain diet or habits. It is important to resolve this disorder before complications arise.

Constipation in children, as in adults, is a common problem. It consists of difficulty in defecation, which is the process by which we remove stool from the body.

Bowel movement varies from person to person. It also changes with age. For example, children poop more than adults. However, in general, middle-aged children go to the toilet once or twice a day.

Why is constipation common in children?

Constipation in children, as in adults, is defined as difficulty in passing stools. So the stool is blocked in the intestine. In some cases, it can consist of a persistent feeling of not evacuating enough.

Babies, for example, tend to have more watery stools and more frequent bowel movements. As they get older and are introduced to a diet similar to that of adults, the consistency changes and the number of daily bowel movements decreases.

The exact cause of constipation in children is not known when no associated condition has been discovered. Hard, dry stools are known to accumulate in the colon. These move more slowly, causing more water to be absorbed into the digestive tract. The more time passes, the harder the stool and the more difficult it is to expel.

Symptoms that constipation can produce:

Symptoms of constipation in children vary widely. There may be fewer than three bowel movements per week. Also, as mentioned, these are hard, dry stools.

So when the child tries to defecate, pain appears. Likewise, you need to do more to get there. The stool, being very hard, can cause small injuries when passed. This is why blood sometimes appears.

The pain that occurs with constipation in children makes them unwilling to go to the bathroom. The child will try to avoid defecation so as not to hurt. Often times, we can see him tightening or twisting his buttocks.

Causes of constipation in children:

Constipation in children can have multiple causes. Various factors affect the consistency and type of stool. First of all, diet is crucial. When this does not contain enough plants or fruit, the stool is usually more difficult.

  • A change in diet that can also lead to constipation: it is common to see it appear when you start to include solid foods. They are already more complex to digest and expel.
  • As with adults, the toilet routine is very important. For example, it is typical that when traveling, in stressful situations, or even when a child starts going to school, constipation appears.
  • Another cause of constipation in children is fear: feeling pain when trying to defecate can lead to avoiding using the bathroom. This vicious cycle exacerbates the problem.
  • In addition, as explained in Children's Health, certain medications and certain illnesses can lead to this condition. For example, hypothyroidism or gastrointestinal abnormalities. In the case of medications, this is a side effect of iron supplements and anticonvulsants.

How is constipation treated in children?

Constipation in children can lead to complications. Therefore, if the situation is persistent or recurring, it is necessary to deal with it. However, this should not be done without first consulting a pediatrician.

As noted in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, your doctor may recommend enemas or laxatives to relieve constipation on an ad-hoc basis. However, these methods cannot be used indefinitely.

There are different types of laxatives depending on the characteristics of the pathology. Some do not have an immediate effect. In addition, it can give a feeling of fullness and gas and lead to abdominal discomfort. That is why the use of these drugs must be controlled.

When do you consult a doctor?

Constipation in children can be treated on its own. In fact, in most cases, it is a one-time thing that does not cause any complications. However, if this condition persists over time or recurs frequently, it is necessary to consult a doctor.

There are also a whole series of warning signs to consider. For example, if a child has blood in the stool or is underweight, has a fever and has a swollen abdomen.

In some cases, trying to defecate can lead to rectal prolapse, with part of the bowel coming out through the anus. This is a reason to consult.

Possible complications of constipation in children:

Constipation in children can lead to complications. One of the most important things at this age is for the child to stop eating or to avoid defecation at all costs.

Another complication is anal fissures. When the stool is very dry and hard, it causes injury to the lining or skin of the anus at the time of expulsion. These injuries increase pain and may be difficult to heal.

Encopresis is the frequent loss of stool on clothing. It occurs when trapped stool builds up in the colon or rectum. Watery stools begin to filter and expel involuntarily by overflow.

Prevention and recommendations:

Treatment is usually based on dietary measures and improving the child's habits. So, one of the essential things is to increase the amount of fiber in the diet. For this, we must ensure that the child eats more fruits and vegetables every day.

Likewise, it is essential that he drinks plenty of water and exercise. Physical activity improves bowel movement and prevents constipation in children. It is also important to establish a routine for going to the bathroom.

It is part of their education from birth. However, you have to be understanding. The little ones need patience and special attention. So if they are afraid to go to the bathroom or avoid the moment, motivate them to do so with something to distract them or with a reward.

Many cases of constipation are caused by an inadequate diet. It can also be the result of a sedentary lifestyle or bad habits. It is therefore important, at this time in life, to teach them to eat a varied and balanced diet.