Constipation in Children: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Constipation in children is difficulty defecating (BAB). This is a common condition characterized by hard and dry stool. The normal frequency and consistency of bowel movements vary according to the child’s age and diet. Constipation is a case that is mostly temporary in children.

As the child ages, the intensity of bowel movements per day will decrease. Infants aged a few months who were breastfed on average defecated 3 times a day, and infants who were given formula milk about 2 times a day.

Then if BAB baby is not smooth, how do you deal with constipation in children? Read on to find out what causes constipation in children, treatment and prevention.

Causes of Constipation

Usually, constipation or also called constipation occurs when feces or stool moves slowly in the digestive tract, which causes the stool to become hard and dry. In addition, the following are a number of factors that cause constipation in children:

1. Toilet Training Problems

If you start toilet training too soon for your child, your child will probably struggle and hold back. If this condition occurs, sometimes the results will cause the child to disregard the urge to defecate quickly and this can become an unintentional bad habit.

2. Delaying CHAPTER

Children may ignore the urge to defecate because they have fun playing or are afraid of going to the toilet. When away from home, some children may hold bowel movements because they feel uncomfortable using public toilets.

Painful bowel movements caused by large and hard feces can cause delayed bowel movements. If it hurts during bowel movements, the child may feel reluctant to go to the toilet.

3. Changes in diet

Constipation is caused by a child not getting enough fiber from fruits and vegetables or liquids. One of the causes of constipation in children that often occurs is when children switch from liquid food to solid food, with age.

4. Changes in Routines

A child’s changing routines, such as traveling, activities outside the home, hot weather, or stress, can affect bowel function. Children are also more prone to constipation when they start school.

5. Cow Milk Allergy

For some children, allergic to cow’s milk or consuming too much milk product (cheese and cow’s milk) sometimes causes constipation in children.

6. Family History

Children who have a family member who is often constipated are more likely to be at risk of constipation. This may be due to genetic or environmental factors.

7. Medical Conditions

Although rare, constipation in children shows anatomical defects, metabolic or digestive system problems, and other underlying conditions.

8. Medicines

The use of drugs such as certain antidepressants and various other drugs may be a cause of constipation in children.

Risk Factors for Constipation

Here are some things that increase the risk of constipation in children:

  • Not much moving
  • Not enough fiber
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Take certain medications (including some antidepressants)
  • Medical conditions that affect the anus or rectum
  • Neurological disorders

Also read: Constipation (Constipation): Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

Symptoms of Constipation

The main symptom of constipation is difficulty defecating with a frequency that is less frequent than usual (less than three times a week).

In general, here are a number of characteristics of constipation in children:

  • Not defecating for several days
  • Hard stool causes painful bowel movements
  • Fever
  • Bloated
  • Weight loss
  • Abdominal pain (such as abdominal pain, cramps, and nausea)
  • Poor child’s appetite
  • Anal bleeding due to injury (fissure)
  • The part of the intestine that comes out of the anus (rectal prolapse)

Sometimes children who are constipated can experience diarrhea so this will confuse parents. What happens here is that there is solid stool that is trapped in the rectum, and a rather runny stool can come out around the solid stool.

Constipation in infants is also often experienced with symptoms that are similar in adults. But there are some other symptoms of constipation that may be experienced by children and infants, such as frequent spotting in pants because of feces that accumulate in the rectum, feces or foul-smelling farts, and tend to look weak, fussy or depressed.

Diagnosis of Constipation

In order to diagnose constipation in a child, the doctor may conduct a physical examination and take a medical history. The doctor will also ask about the child’s condition during constipation:

  • Bowel pattern
  • Eating patterns and eating habits
  • Toilet training
  • Health problems
  • Drugs

During a physical examination, the doctor will examine the child’s abdomen to see if the stomach is swollen or soft, or has a mass or lump. The doctor will examine the child’s rectum to check for blood or blockages.

Doctors can also do tests, such as X-rays, can show feces that are still in the large intestine. Sometimes laboratory tests are needed to help diagnose the underlying health problem.

Complications of Constipation

Constipation in children can cause discomfort, but it is usually not serious. However, if the condition becomes chronic, complications may develop:

  • When sitting becomes painful around the anus (anal fissure)
  • Rectal prolapse, when the rectum comes out of the anus
  • Avoiding bowel movements because pain can cause the stool to harden and accumulate
  • If there is too much feces that accumulate in the large intestine and sometimes leakage can occur out of the anal canal without being noticed (encopresis)

How to Overcome Constipation in Children

Here are some treatments that can be done to overcome constipation in children:

1. Stool Softeners

How to deal with constipation in children this one is safe, but must be used under the supervision of a pediatrician. A common mistake parents who use stool softeners for constipation is not to use enough doses, or to stop them too quickly.

For example, parents may think they can stop giving stool softeners after a bowel movement that first seems normal, but stopping too quickly can actually cause other problems for the child.

Some children may need to keep using a stool softener for several weeks. The doctor can advise on the appropriate dosage schedule for children.

2. Expand Fiber and Liquid

Consume lots of fruits, vegetables, high-fiber cereals, whole-grain bread (at least 3 to 5 grams of fiber per serving), and various nuts. In addition, foods containing probiotics such as yogurt can also improve good digestive health.

It should be noted, if the child eats a lot of foods rich in fiber but doesn’t get enough fluids, you can make the problem worse. Children should drink plenty of water throughout the day, along with a few glasses of milk, and limit sugary drinks.

3. Regular Toilet Time

Remind children to go to the toilet in the morning and after eating to defecate. Especially for younger children, give commands gently and do not force or ask.

To get the best results, how to overcome constipation in children can be by combining the following three approaches:

  • Expand to eat fibrous foods
  • Consumption of stool softeners (if necessary)
  • Drink plenty of fluids

4. Massage

Massage the child’s abdomen gently to relax the muscles that support the bladder and intestines, which help increase intestinal activity. But massage is done carefully and must be done by people who are truly experts in their fields.

5. Acupuncture

How to deal with constipation in natural children using fine needles to various parts of the child’s body. This therapy can help if the child has abdominal pain related to constipation.

How to treat constipation in infants

Constipation in infants usually starts when they start eating solid food. If symptoms of constipation occur in infants, such as difficulty in bowel movements, arching his back or crying, immediately consider changing simple eating patterns:

1. Water or Fruit Juice

Give the baby a little water or apple or pear juice every day in addition to regular food. This juice contains sorbitol, a sweetener that functions like a laxative. Give about 60 to 120 milliliters of juice.

2. Baby Food

If the baby is eating solid food, try the pea porridge, which contains more fiber than other fruits and vegetables. Or you can give it whole wheat, whole wheat or multigrain cereals, which contain more fiber than rice cereals.

Also read: 5 Ways to Overcome Constipation Quickly

Prevention of Constipation

Here are some steps that can help prevent constipation in children:

  • Changing diet, including increasing fluid intake and switching to low-fat dairy products (if appropriate for age).
  • Check the child, whether the doctor recommends drinking juice. Your doctor can help you plan your diet with the right amount of fiber to treat or prevent constipation.
  • Increase intake of fresh fruits and vegetables in children.
  • Make a schedule to go to the toilet regularly, or remind your child if you want to defecate immediately to the toilet.
  • Encourage children to light physical exercise regularly

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