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How To Cure Constipation: Remedies and Constipation Medicine for Kids

How To Cure Constipation: Remedies and Constipation Medicine for Kids

Constipation in children is a fairly common problem which often occurs when there is a change in the child’s diet. This condition is only temporary, and if you know how to treat your baby’s constipation, their digestive system will quickly return to normal. There are many ways to cure constipation in children — including constipation medicine for kids. Which ones really work?

What Is Constipation?

Constipation occurs when bowel movements become less frequent and stools become difficult to pass. This symptom usually occurs due to changes in diet or when your child doesn’t eat enough fiber.

Signs of Constipation in Children

How can you tell if your baby is constipated? Besides showing discomfort every time they go to the bathroom, your child may display one or more of the following signs:

  • Flatulence
  • Stomach pain
  • Bloody stools
  • Tight abdomen

Sometimes, constipation can be accompanied by diarrhea and confuse many parents. This happens because hard stools get stuck in the rectum and loose stools easily slip through, passing first.

Why Do Children Get Constipated?

Constipation usually occurs when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract, causing stools to become hard and dry. In such cases, constipation medicine for kids may be helpful.

Many factors can cause constipation in children, including:

Withholding Bowel Movements

Your child may ignore the need to have a bowel movement out of fear of going to the bathroom or a desire to not disrupt playtime. Some children refuse to defecate in public places.

With this behavior, when the child has a bowel movement, they may feel pain due to hard and large stools. Over time, if your child feels pain while having a bowel movement, your child may try to hold back the stool to avoid the pain.

Toilet Habits

If parents start toilet training too early, the baby can become rebellious, disobedient and hold back. And when toilet training becomes a “battle” between parent and child, the baby may ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. This can quickly become a habit, increasing the risk of severe constipation later in life.

Diet

Not getting enough nutrients from fiber-rich fruits and vegetables or having little water in your child’s diet can cause a child to become constipated. One of the more common causes of constipation in children is when they switch from a liquid diet to a solid food diet.

Change in Routine

Any change in your child’s routine – travel, hot weather or stress – can affect bowel function. Children who are constipated are also more at risk when they are just starting school away from home.

Medication Effects

Some antidepressants and many other medications can contribute to severe constipation in children.

Genetics

Children with constipation who have a family member who has had these symptoms have a high risk of having them too. This may be due to genetic factors.

How To Cure Constipation: Remedies and Constipation Medicine for Kids

What should we do with constipation children? Here are some effective remedies, including constipation medicine for kids, to help improve your child’s condition:

1. Have Your Child Drink a Lot of Water

Chronic dehydration can cause constipation in children. When your child can’t have a bowel movement, you should give them plenty of water to keep the body hydrated and form stools that are smooth and easy to pass.

When your baby is constipated, you can try to improve the situation by giving them carbonated mineral water. Some studies suggest that this type of water is more effective than plain water in relieving constipation, including chronic idiopathic constipation or children with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). However, do not use carbonated soft drinks as these are unhealthy choices.

2. Add Fiber to Your Child’s Diet

Oftentimes, constipation medicine for kids is unnecessary. Simple diet changes can be effective.

Children with constipation are often advised to eat more fiber. This is because adding fiber to the body will support bowel movement, making stool easier to pass. In fact, a recent review found that 77% of cases of chronic constipation could improve just by consuming more fiber.

Some experts believe that too much fiber can make constipation in children worse. While fiber can increase the frequency of bowel movements, it does not directly help with other symptoms of constipation, such as hard stools, abdominal pain, bloating, etc.

This is due to the kind of fiber that you add to your diet. There are many different types of fiber, but in general, there are 2 types:

Insoluble Fiber

Found in wheat bran, vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower), and grains. This fiber helps soften stools for easier passage through the digestive tract by attracting water and forming bulk.

Soluble Fiber

Found in oat bran, barley, nuts, lentils and peas, fruits and vegetables (like Brussel sprouts and beans). This fiber dissolves in water and forms a gel-like paste that helps soften your baby’s stools.

Studies have yet to find an effect of insoluble fiber in the treatment of constipation. At the same time, too much of this fiber type can cause children to have bowel problems that make it more difficult to go to the toilet.

Some fermentable soluble fiber may also not be effective in treating constipation. Sometimes this fiber is also fermented by bacteria in the gut and loses its ability to hold water.

To treat constipation in children, choose to add non-fermentable fiber to your baby’s daily diet, such as psyllium.

3. Give Your Child Probiotics

Probiotics can effectively treat constipation in children. If your baby has problems with bowel movements, sometimes it’s due to an imbalance of gut bacteria. Therefore, you can give your baby beneficial bacteria from foods or medicines, such as yogurt, probiotics, or probiotic gummies.

4. Try Prunes

Plums and prune juice are commonly known as natural constipation medicine for kids and adults alike. In addition to fiber, plums also contain sorbitol, a natural laxative. In addition, scientists have found that prunes are more effective than regular fiber.

If your baby is constipated, prunes may be the easiest natural solution. You only need to give your child about 50g (equivalent to almost 7 plums) twice a day.

5. Avoid Dairy Products

In some cases, lactose intolerance can cause constipation because the condition affects bowel movement. If you think your baby is lactose intolerant, temporarily eliminate milk or dairy products from your child’s diet to see if their constipation improves. At the same time, make sure your baby gets enough calcium from other foods.

6. Let Your Baby Move More

It may sound hard to believe, but regular exercise can help treat constipation in children, as well as reduce symptoms. By being more physically active, your baby’s intestines have a chance to move. Therefore, encourage your child to play for 30-60 minutes a day.

constipation medicine for kids

7. Set a Regular Schedule

Encourage your child to use the restroom at regular times of the day, especially after meals or whenever they usually feel like going. Let your baby practice sitting for at least 10 minutes at a time. Place a small stool under your baby’s feet as this position will help stools pass more easily.

For young children, you can create a habit of going to the toilet by saying, “It’s time to go to the bathroom” instead of asking if they want to go to the bathroom or not.

8. Use Constipation Medicine for Kids

Constipation medicine for kids such as stool softeners are considered safe for children. But you should use them under the guidance of your doctor. Two common mistakes that parents make when giving their children constipation medicine for kids is not taking the full dose or stopping the medicine too soon.

9. Baby Belly Massage

Beyond remedies and constipation medicine for kids, you can also try a gentle belly massage. Follow these steps:

  1. Warm your hands by rubbing them together, then use a child-safe massage oil and drop a few drops into the palm of your hand.
  2. Lay the baby on his back. Using your fingertips, slowly press on the baby’s belly to form an inverted U shape. Start from the bottom left, moving up, pulling across the navel, then move down.
  3. Repeat 10-15 times, 2-3 times per day.

In addition to massage, you can put your baby on their back, hold their legs and make a bicycle movement. This also helps the baby with constipation.

Some suggestions in the article are appropriate in the treatment of children with mild constipation. For more serious cases, it is best to take your child to the doctor. And make sure to follow the doctor’s instructions to help your child recover faster.

Learn more about Child Digestive Problems here.

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Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Treatment for Constipation in Children, https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/constipation-children/treatment, Accessed December 21, 2021

Evaluation and Treatment of Constipation in Children and Adolescents, https://www.aafp.org/afp/2014/0715/p82.html, Accessed December 21, 2021

Constipation, https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/conditions/constipation, Accessed December 21, 2021

Constipation in children, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation-in-children/symptoms-causes/syc-20354242, Accessed December 21, 2021

Constipation in children, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/baby/health/constipation-in-children/, Accessed December 21, 2021

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Written by Hello Bacsi Updated May 12
Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD