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Constipation in children can happen as a result of the child not going to the bathroom when they feel like it or because of poor fiber diet and little water consumption during the day, which makes stools harder and dry, in addition to causing abdominal discomfort in the child.
Constipation in children is characterized by less than 3 bowel movements per week, or when the child goes to the bathroom daily, but has hard, dry stools and symptoms such as abdominal pain or swelling in the belly.
To treat constipation in children, it is important to consult the pediatrician who can recommend treatment with foods that help improve intestinal transit, such as foods rich in fiber, in addition to encouraging the child to consume more water during the day.In some cases, the pediatrician may recommend the use of laxatives to lubricate the stool, facilitating its elimination.
Symptoms of constipation in children
Constipation in children can be perceived through some symptoms that may appear over time, such as:
- Less than 3 bowel movements per week;
- Very hard and dry stools;
- Abdominal pain;
- Swelling of the belly;
- Moodiness and irritability;
- More sensitivity in the belly, the child may cry when the region is touched;
- Decreased desire to eat.
It is important to take the child to a pediatrician appointment when the child has not had a bowel movement for more than 5 days, has blood in the stool or when he starts to have very strong abdominal pain.During the consultation, the doctor must be informed about the child's bowel habits and how he eats in order to identify the causes and thus indicate the most appropriate treatment.
Constipation can happen when the child does not go to the bathroom when he feels like it or when he has a low fiber diet, does not practice physical activity or drinks little water during the day.
In addition, changes in diet or routine changes can also contribute to causing constipation in the child.
How the treatment is done
The treatment of constipation in children should be guided by the pediatrician, who may indicate:
1. Food to loosen the intestine
To help improve the child's bowel function, it is important to encourage changes in some eating habits, and it is recommended to offer the child:
- At least 850 mL of water a day, as water reaches the intestines helps to soften stools;
- Sugar-free fruit juices made at home throughout the day, such as orange or papaya juice;
- Foods rich in fiber and water that help loosen the bowels, such as All Bran cereal, passion fruit or almonds in the shell, radish, tomato, pumpkin, plum, orange or kiwi.
- 1 tablespoon of seeds, such as flaxseed, sesame or pumpkin seed in yogurt or making oatmeal;
- Avoid giving the child foods that hold the intestines, such as white bread, farofa, bananas or processed foods, as they are foods low in fiber and tend to accumulate in the intestine.
Generally, the child should go to the bathroom as soon as he feels like it, because holding it only brings harm to the body and the intestine ends up getting used to that amount of feces, making it more and more necessary stool so that the body gives the signal that it needs to empty.
See the following video for some tips to improve your child's diet and thus fight constipation:
2. Use of laxatives
The use of laxatives for constipation in children, such as lactulose, sorbitol, or glycerin suppositories, may be indicated by the pediatrician when changes in diet have not been effective in improving constipation, as they help to soften stools and increase bowel movements, facilitating the elimination of stools and relieving symptoms of constipation such as colic, hard and dry stools.
These laxatives should be used only when indicated by the pediatrician after evaluating the cause of constipation in the child, so that the best laxative is indicated according to the cause of constipation and the child's age. See some examples of laxatives that your pediatrician may recommend.