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Medical and Natural Laxatives for Kids To Treat Constipation

Medical and Natural Laxatives for Kids To Treat Constipation

One of the most common problems that babies and children experience is constipation. This often brings discomfort to children and can be a cause of concern for parents. What can parents do to prevent digestive disorders in children? Is it okay to give laxatives to children to treat constipation? And what natural laxatives for kids are available?

Can Medical or Natural Laxatives for Kids Treat Constipation?

One of the easiest and most common ways to deal with difficult bowel movements is to use laxatives. This is true for children as well. Although generally used by adults, small children can also take laxatives.

Constipation drugs for children are usually divided into two categories, based on how they work. The first group of drugs softens the stool to make it easier to pass. The second stimulates intestinal activity to encourage regular bowel movements.

Before giving any medical or natural laxatives to your child, make sure to consult with your pediatrician first.

natural laxatives for kids

Medical and Natural Laxatives for Kids To Treat Constipation

There are several types of laxatives that are safe for use by children. Some of the drugs that are usually prescribed by doctors to treat constipation in children include:

Docusate (Coloxyl)

Laxatives that work to soften stool texture include docusate (Coloxyl), lactulose (Laevolac), and mineral oil.

Docusate comes in capsule or tablet form. Your doctor may prescribe this drug if constipation is not too severe.

In very rare cases, this drug can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and stomach cramps.

Sennoside B (Senokot)

These are laxatives that stimulate a child’s intestine activity to regularize bowel movements.

These stimulant drugs are made from the senna plant. Children under the age of 6 years should not take sennoside B, unless the doctor gives the green light.

Side effects that may occur in children include diarrhea and stomach upset or cramps. Your baby’s urine will also be red. However, you do not need to worry because the color will return to normal after they stop taking the drug.

Lactulose (Laevolac)

Just like docusate, lactulose is a stool softener. According to the National Health Service, this medicine should not be given to children under the age of 14, unless a doctor prescribes it.

This constipation medicine is available in the form of a syrup that tastes sweet. And one side effect of this drug is diarrhea.

Each child responds differently to a treatment. This can be affected by the severity of the child’s condition and its specific cause. Seeking the advice of a doctor can help to overcome constipation in children. During treatment, follow the doctor’s instructions, especially in using constipation medicine or natural laxatives for kids.

Natural Laxatives for Kids

As a parent, you will probably try your best not to give your child medication. The good news is that constipation is often caused by an unhealthy diet and lifestyle. That means parents can prevent constipation in children by implementing a healthy diet and lifestyle in children.

In addition, some food serves as natural laxatives for kids.

One way to overcome constipation in children is to make sure the child gets enough fluids, which also includes formula or breast milk.

You can also give milk to support your little one’s digestive health, such as high-fiber children’s milk. High-fiber milk can help meet your little one’s daily fiber needs, as well as prevent and treat constipation.

Some other things you can do to make your child’s bowel movements run smoothly include:

1. Monitor Food Intake

The best way to treat constipation in children without taking medication is to adjust their diet. Parents also need to choose the right foods to help relieve constipation symptoms.

For starters, you can add apples and pears to your child’s daily diet. Both of these fruits contain sorbitol, which is a sugar that works like a natural laxative for kids.

In addition, this fruit also contains pectin fiber and actinidain enzymes (highest in kiwi and papaya) that can soften children’s stools while stimulating faster bowel movement.

Children can also enjoy the fruit in the form of juice. To increase fiber content, do not peel the skin of the fruit. But make sure to thoroughly wash the fruit.

Children should regularly eat vegetables and fruits, especially those who can already eat solid food. Such food can be natural laxatives for kids and a substitute for constipation medication.

You can also add vegetables like broccoli and peas to increase your child’s fiber intake.

Balance how to deal with constipation in children by giving them more water to maximize dietary fiber’s ability to soften the stool.

2. Avoid Food that Triggers Constipation

The next in the list of natural laxatives for kids is simply avoiding certain types of food.

This method is effective for relieving and preventing constipation in children who have allergies, intolerances, Crohn’s disease, or Celiac disease.

The following is a list of foods to avoid:

  • Dairy or food containing lactose, such as milk, cakes, chocolate, cheese, or ice cream
  • Food with gluten, such as bread or pasta
  • Wheat, barley, or rye

It is possible that your little one also shows symptoms of constipation due to other foods not mentioned above. Consult your doctor to learn more.

3. Potty Training

If you suspect that the cause of constipation is your child’s bowel movement habits, do exercises for potty training. The habit of holding bowel movements causes feces to be abnormally retained in the large intestine. As a result, the stool becomes dry, dense, and difficult to expel.

To deal with constipation in children, parents can:

  • Teach children to convey the urge to defecate in easy language.
  • Teach your little one to open their own pants.
  • Prepare equipment, such as a special toilet seat for potty training, tissues, and others.
  • Make a regular schedule for your little one to urinate and defecate, for example in the morning after waking up or after eating.

Learn more about Digestive Problems in Children here.

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

Sources

Pediatric Docusate (Colace®) Side Effects and Uses, https://www.chp.edu/our-services/transplant/liver/education/medications/docusate-colace, Accessed December 20, 2021

Bisacodyl (oral and rectal), https://www.mottchildren.org/health-library/d01015a1, Accessed December 20, 2021

Laxatives, https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/laxatives/considerations/, Accessed December 20, 2021

Senna, https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/senna/, Accessed December 20, 2021

Lactulose, https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/lactulose/, Accessed December 20, 2021

Laxatives, https://www.kidshealth.org.nz/laxatives, Accessed December 20, 2021

Potty training: How to get the job done, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/potty-training/art-20045230, Accessed December 20, 2021

Constipation in children, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/constipation-in-children/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354248, Accessed December 20, 2021

Are Laxatives Safe For Children? https://www.nationwidechildrens.org/family-resources-education/700childrens/2015/03/are-laxatives-safe-for-children, Accessed December 20, 2021

What are the signs of infant constipation? And what’s the best way to treat it? https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/expert-answers/infant-constipation/faq-20058519, Accessed December 20, 2021

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Written by Hello Sehat Updated May 13
Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD