Constipation in children is common. It can be related to diet or to other events in their lives, some of which are predictable. Your child may not seem affected by constipation in some cases, but other times they can be uncomfortable and in pain.
Recognizing the signs and indications that your child is suffering is just the beginning. You may need to take steps to get them past the constipation problem. When home care isn’t enough, Katy Pediatric Associates is standing by to help you and your child. They’re constipation specialists, so you’re assured a fast solution.
What causes pediatric constipation?
Constipation is usually defined by three bowel movements weekly or less, though this may vary between children. Large, hard stools that are difficult to pass could indicate a constipation problem even if they’re more frequent.
There are three common developmental stages that are often accompanied by constipation. When an infant is making the transition to solid foods, their digestive systems can take some time to adjust. Toilet training is the next stage, as your child begins to develop control over their bowel movements. Starting school may also be accompanied by constipation.
Withholding is likely part of the reason for the last two stages, and for any child who is toddler age or older. They may hold back their bowel movements while they play or if they’re in unfamiliar surroundings.
As with the first stage, a child could have constipation issues any time their diet changes. Sometimes foods themselves may be the issue. Often, constipation is a symptom of an allergy to cow’s milk.
Signs and symptoms of constipation
Knowing that your child is suffering from constipation takes some detective work once toilet training is complete. You’ll know more about the frequency and consistency of bowel movements during the diaper changing years. Besides the number of bowel movements weekly, here’s what to watch for in your child:
- Stool consistency appears hard and dry
- Abdominal bloating
- Discomfort or pain in the lower abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Fidgeting consistent with “holding it in”
- Soft or liquid stool stains on their underwear
While constipation is common and not typically serious, contact Katy Pediatric Associates if your child’s condition lasts more than two weeks, if constipation is accompanied by fever, or if they’re losing weight through the constipation episode.
Home care remedies
Adequate hydration helps your child’s regularity. Increasing fluid intake may be all they need to get past the problem. Likewise, increasing dietary fiber in the form of fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains will help to improve stool consistency and reduce discomfort. Limit their intake of caffeinated beverages and heavily processed foods, each of which can slow the digestive process.
Don’t try using stool softeners or laxatives with your child unless it’s under the advice and recommendation of a doctor. There are child-friendly versions of these medicines.
If your child’s constipation issue requires medical attention, contact Katy Pediatric Associates to get the help you need. You can reach the office by phone at 281-492-7676, or online, so schedule your visit today.