By Dr. Ritu Krishnatreye, BHMS
Does your little one have difficulty pooping? Constipation in toddlers is a common problem.
According to a report in the Journal of Pediatric Care, around five per cent of visits to a pediatrician are due to constipation.
Constipation in toddlers is defined by the consistency of the stools, usually hard stools, rather than the number of stools.
Constipation in toddlers is easy to treat. Usually minor changes in diet and lifestyle are enough, but sometimes a home remedy may be needed.
Before we look at constipation relief in toddlers, let’s first take a look at why toddlers get constipated in the first place.
Unlike constipation in adults, constipation in kids is many times a behavioral problem rather than a nutritional disorder. This can again be due to a number of reasons:
When a toddler puts off going when the feel the urge to go, it gives the colon more time to extract moisture from stool.
The result is hard, difficult to pass stool, the pain of which can be even more reason for the toddler to adopt a lifestyle of avoiding the potty.
Another common cause is an insufficient amount of fiber in the toddler’s diet, leading to constipation.
We all agree that children can be picky eaters. Given an option, most would prefer eating fast food and junk food rather than healthy, fiber filled vegetables and fruits.
As the toddler’s parent, it is our responsibility to help them to eat a healthy diet, one that contains an adequate amount of fiber.
Childhood is phase of growth and development. Whatever good habits are introduced at this age they can stay with them into adulthood.
Water intake is also important to staying hydrated and passing normal, soft stools. Toddlers need water available when they feel thirsty to avoid becoming dehydrated.
Just like in adults, a lack of physical activity is associated with constipation in toddlers.
Infectious diseases and the use of certain medications can also cause constipation in toddlers.
In rare cases, constipation can be due to abnormalities of the anus or rectum, Hirshsprung’s disease and lead poisoning.
If constipation persists even after using appropriate remedies, please let your pediatrician know.
A toddler may be so busy playing that he does not want to stop to visit the bathroom.
For whatever reason the child is avoiding the bathroom, scheduling a regular potty time can help toddlers establish good bowel habits and therefore avoid constipation.
Add a variety of vegetables, fruits and whole grain foods to encourage proper bowel movements. Cut down on junk food and replace it with healthy options like flavored yogurt and nuts.
Instead of allowing the child to spend extensive time in front of the TV, get the child moving.
Some sort of physical activity is necessary to keep the digestive system healthy. Moreover, exercise is good for overall development.
If after trying the above measures your child is still passing hard dry stools, you can give your child a natural Ionic sea mineral supplement.
Constipation is a common childhood problem.
Instead of worrying and stressing about it, take the above mentioned steps that will help in relieving constipation in your little one. If the condition still persists, talk to your child’s pediatrician.