theAsianparent Logo

Poop Problems

It is normal for kids to experience constipation. But no matter how common it is in kids, it is still a source of frustration for both parents and children.

pottyA little boy went to the bathroom because he felt that he had to go. He sat on the toilet but nothing happened. He waited but still nothing happened. He tried to push with greater effort but still nothing came out. He was already perspiring, and with each strain came a groan. Finally with one strong push, a solid hard poop came out. It looked like a pellet.

He finished his bathroom agenda but still felt uncomfortable. He knew there was still something inside his tummy. This little boy was constipated and he didn't like it.

Does this sound familiar?

It is normal for kids to experience constipation. But no matter how common it is in kids, it is still a source of frustration for both parents and children.

Constipation is characterized by hard and painful bowel movement. A child who does not have daily bowel movement may not necessarily be constipated because every child has different bathroom habits. However, if your child goes less than he normally does then most likely he is constipated. A child who constantly complains about stomach aches or cramps may also be experiencing constipation.

It is entirely normal for your child to experience infrequent bouts of constipation. But if it goes on every day and stretches out for 2 to 3 weeks, then you should be alarmed and bring your child to a doctor.

Kids become constipated because of a low-fibre diet, over consumption of milk, insufficient liquid intake, infrequent visits to the bathroom or holding stool for so long. The effort needed to defecate can be too much for most children to handle. So they usually end up not going to the bathroom. The longer their faeces stay in their body, the more toxic these waste materials become for them.

Infants that groan or strain during bowel movement may not necessarily be constipated as it is normal for them to do this. Breastfed infants can also go for days without bowel movement as human milk is well digested in your infant’s bodies.Kids and Constipation

How can you help your constipated child?

Change your child’s diet. Make sure that your child consumes lots of fibre. An average of 25 grams of fibre is what he or she needs daily. Increase the amount of fruits and vegetables that your child eats. Beans, sweet potatoes, corn and raw tomatoes are excellent sources of fibre. If your child is a picky eater, let him or her eat popcorn as it is rich in fibre.

Avoid giving your child foods that can cause constipation such as cow’s milk, cheese, bananas and yogurt. You can give your child soy milk as it is known to prevent hard bowel movement.

Increase your child’s fluid intake. Make sure that he or she drinks at least 8 glasses of fluid daily. You can give your child either water or fruit juices.

Let your child exercise daily. Engage him or her in active play. Learning a new sport can also keep your child physically active.

Check if any medication that your child is taking may be causing constipation. Consult your doctor for any possible alternative.

Treat constipation the natural way. Laxatives may have adverse effects on your child’s body so only use them when prescribed by your doctor.

Encourage your child to have a regular schedule for bowel movement. Help him or her to stick to the schedule by giving constant reminders or using a rewards system.

If your child still suffers from constipation even if he or she eats a well-balanced diet, drinks the right amount of fluid, exercises regularly and diligently follows his or her schedule for bowel movement, then you should consult your doctor. Constipation may just be a symptom for an underlying illness.