Pediatric constipation is a period between bowel movements that is unusually long for your child, with bowel movements that are hard, difficult, or painful to pass. (Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide)
Symptoms of constipation in children
A child who is constipated may strain, bleed, or feel pain during bowel movements.
They may feel bloated, have a headache, swollen abdomen, or pass rock-like feces.
Reasons for Constipation in Children
A child that is eating solid foods and has not had a bowel movement in four days is considered constipated.
1. Failed potty training
Constipation in children occurs often when children hold back bowel movements for various reasons. (The Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health Infancy Through Adolescence (Vol. 1)
They may not be ready, or are afraid of going.
2. Social factors
Children may resist the urge to move their bowels when they feel the urge to go.
This often happens when children start school or enter day care.
3. Environmental factors
Stress and travel can also contribute to constipation, as well as other changes in when they can have a BM.
4. Physical factors
Constipation can be caused by:
• A digestive tract that is slow or immature
• An inadequate amount of fiber in the child’s diet
• Dehydration from not drinking enough water
• In a few rare cases, a serious disorder such as an intestinal block
Once constipation has developed, a child may avoid having a bowel movement, since previous ones have been difficult and painful. They then go less often, and constipation gets worse.
That is why it is important to train children to go to the bathroom as soon as they feel the urge to go.
Finding a solution
Here is one of the best things I have found to quickly remedy pediatric constipation.
The magnesium pulls water into the colon, softening the stool and helping with an urge to go. It is simple to just add a little to whatever my child drinks.
Click here for my article on overcoming childhood constipation.