Treating constipation in children
Treating constipation in children
Treating constipation in children
1 Tip to get rid of constipation in children
1.1 Changing the diet
1.3 Follow healthy bowel habits
2 Medicamentally treating constipation in children
Tips to get rid of constipation in children
Most cases of constipation in children are treated with lifestyle changes at home, and the details of that are given below.
A- Changing the diet
A change in the diet, including sticking to a specific meal schedule, helps treat constipation in children.
The following are the points that are recommended to be followed for that:
1- Committing to a balanced diet, in addition to light meals.
2- Introducing more fiber to the child’s diet, by trying to adhere to the following:
Eat more fruits and vegetables.
Add whole wheat cereal and bread to the child’s diet.
Pay attention to food labels on food packages. In order to choose the ones that contain the highest proportion of fiber.
Avoid foods and drinks that do not contain fiber or even those that contain a low percentage of it, such as:
- Ice cream
- potato chips
- ready meals and processed foods.
2- Avoid fast food, which is usually high in fat.
3- Reducing the consumption of caffeinated drinks such as tea and soda.
4- Reducing consumption of whole milk by consulting a health care provider.
5- Serving breakfast early for the child
6- Drinking water and fluids in abundance, in order to help facilitate the movement of stool inside the intestine, and the amount of water and fluids to be drunk varies depending on the weight and age of the child.
B – Exercise
People who are not very mobile usually experience constipation.
Thus, helping the child to do more exercise helps in cases of constipation,
This is due to its effect on the digestive process, as exercise helps to facilitate the natural movements of the intestine,
And this is done by encouraging the child to play outside, or practicing various activities inside the house instead of watching TV.
C- Follow healthy bowel habits
It is important to try to accustom the child to follow the habit of going to the bathroom regularly,
The child should be encouraged to go to the bathroom a few times a day, especially after 20-30 minutes of eating breakfast and dinner.
This helps to benefit from the natural intestinal contractions that occur after eating,
A warning should be made here to encourage the child to sit on the toilet even if the child does not feel the need to defecate,
While the child is sitting, it is important to maintain a certain posture that helps the child to use the muscles necessary for defecation,
This is done by placing the child’s feet on a small stool so that the knees are higher than the level of the hips,
Also, attention should be given to leaning the child slightly forward while maintaining a straight back
The child may need to support his elbows on his thighs,
It is recommended to maintain this position of the child for a period of 3-5 minutes without distractions,
To help with this, it is possible to reward the child for sitting on the toilet.
It is important here to use an age-appropriate reward to avoid punishing the child if he does not defecate.
It is necessary to stimulate the child to go directly to the bathroom as soon as he senses the need to defecate.
Medically treat constipation in children
Treatment for constipation in children depends on the symptoms the child is experiencing,
The severity of the condition, along with age and general health,
In some cases, some prescription or over-the-counter medicines that the child takes, or nutritional supplements, may cause constipation,
Then the doctor may advise stopping the medicine, changing the dose, or switching the medicine for another,
* It is important here to warn not to stop any medicine that the child is taking without consulting the doctor.
In the event that the previously mentioned lifestyle changes did not help in solving the child’s constipation problem,
The health care provider may diagnose another problem he has, and then some drug treatments may be resorted to, such as:
- Stool softeners
It is worth noting that these treatments can only be used upon the recommendation of a health care provider,
It should also not be used without talking to him in the beginning, and the following is a breakdown of the different medication options:
1- Stool softeners or dietary supplements rich in fiber:
The natural fibers in Psyllium husk, which can be mixed with a child’s food, may help soften the stool.
However, the child must drink about one liter of water on a daily basis to ensure these products work effectively.
Glycerin suppositories can be used in cases of children who have difficulty swallowing pills.
It is important to speak with your doctor in order to know the correct way to use it.
You can get laxatives in pharmacies without a prescription.
However, it is not recommended to use it for children without seeking medical advice.
The various options include the following:
A- Liquid paraffin:
Liquid paraffin is available in different flavors, which in turn helps lubricate the stools to make them easier to move out of the body.
B- Polyethylene glycols:
Polyethylene glycol comes in sachets that are mixed with water to soften stools.
Lactulose is available in the form of a sweet-tasting liquid that softens the stool and stimulates bowel movement. It is preferable to mix it with milk or juice, and its use may cause the release of farting.
This medicine is available as pills or drops, which are suitable for children younger than 3 years old.
Senna is available in the form of pills and granules that stimulate bowel movement, and these granules can be mixed with food,
Like stewed apples for example,
It is worth noting that the child may experience diarrhea or stomach cramps if he takes a high dose of senna.
F – Bisacodyl:
Bisacodyl is available as pills or drops that stimulate bowel movements and may cause stomach cramps.
In enemas, certain pills or liquid are placed inside the anus in order to stimulate the rectum to secrete its contents.
It is worth noting that these injections do not soften the stool in the upper intestine.
It is usually used in severe cases of constipation,
When comparing the effectiveness of enemas with the effectiveness of oral laxatives, the effectiveness of the latter is higher in addition to being less painful for the child.
It should be cautioned not to use enemas without the advice of a doctor.
4- Bowel irrigation
Intestinal irrigation is used in cases of children who are so constipated that they need to be hospitalized,
The bowel is irrigated by a specific liquid that is drunk or inserted into the stomach through a nasogastric tube.
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