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Constipation in kids

Constipation in children is a common complaint and usually there are no symptoms of constipation in children unless the child complains of tummy pain. In growing children, hard motion, irregular emptying of the bowl constitutes the main symptoms of constipation.

Causes of constipation in Children:
Some children have a natural tendency of slower gut movement. Poor diet, small quantities are main causes of constipation in children. Foods such as high in animal fat (meat, dairy products, eggs), rich in sugar from candies, chocolates, ice-creams and very low in fiber due to absence of vegetables, fruits and whole grains are the reasons for constipation. It is very difficult to make children eat a balanced diet as they tend to be fussy and more over different tastes get developed as they grow.

Constipation in new borne and young infants:
Breast-fed babies may have a motion following each feed but some breast-fed babies only have a motion every seven to ten days. Bottle-fed babies and toddlers around 2 years usually have a motion at least every two to three days.

Constipation is toddlers:
The child over one year of age has a motion less frequently than every three days and the motion is firm, they are likely to be constipated and this condition needs to be corrected.

Signs and symptoms of constipation:
Consistency of the stool is one of the most remarkable sign to recognize the degree of constipation. If the child is avoiding using toilet, complaining of stomach pain, the stomach is hard to touch, the anal site is red are all signs that suggest difficulty in passing the motion due to constipation.

How to prevent constipation in children?
One of the important aspects is nurturing healthy eating habits, water intake and regularity in the bowl movement.

Parents must ensure that children develop tastes to eat all sorts of food and consume fresh warm meals consisting of rice, lentils, and vegetables of their choice, fruits and plenty of water to drink. Parents must encourage physical activities necessary for the child’s growth and general well-being. Timely meals, sleep and rest times and also regular bowel movement.

Lastly, parents must have a dialogue with children explaining the importance of good toilet habits, never to avoid urge to use the toilet and healthy living.

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