Kids can become constipated, just like adults. In fact, it is extremely common for kids to experience constipation. There are a variety of reasons that your child might become constipated, so it’s always best to check in with your kids to make sure they are able to pass stool regularly and that they don’t have any abdominal pain or cramping.
Causes of Constipation in Kids
Just like adults, kids can suffer from constipation. The most common reason kids get constipated is due to a lack of fiber in their diet or dehydration. If your child eats a lot of processed foods, dairy and foods high in fat or protein but lacking in fiber, he or she can become constipated. Kids who are potty training can become constipated too—especially kids who are forced to potty train before they are ready.
After potty training, many kids resist the urge to use the bathroom even when they really need to go. Kids are busy playing and being curious so many little ones don’t want to put a halt to the fun to use the toilet.
Just like in adults, stress can cause kids to become constipated. When a child has high amounts of stress or anxiety, he or she can start to constrict their muscles, including the ones in the digestive system. Causes of stress can be a death in the family, a parent returning to the work field or changing schools.
Symptoms of Constipation in Kids
Since kids might not know the symptoms of constipation, they can go for days or weeks without a bowel movement and not comprehend something is wrong. To ensure you child is not constipated, ask him or her about the day’s bowel movements. If your child complains of abdominal pain or stomach aches or cramps, you might need to consult the doctor about constipation.
If your child is on any medications that might induce constipation, be sure to monitor bowel movements more closely to ensure your child is passing stool. Sometimes kids who are constipated also have blood in their stool, so you can check the toilet after a bowel movement to rule out bloody stool.
What to do if Your Child is Constipated
If you believe your child has mild to moderate constipation, you can try a few tips before consulting your pediatrician. First, make sure your child is getting enough fiber and plenty of water each day. Fruits like berries contain lots of fiber, so include more berries into your child’s diet. If your child has experienced a life change recently, you can consult your doctor about related constipation. If upping your child’s fiber does not produce a bowel movement after a few days or if your child is on medication that might cause constipation, contact your doctor about possible treatments or changes in medication.
Though diagnosing constipation in children can be more difficult than diagnosing constipation in adults, there are plenty of ways to find out whether or not your child is constipated. Keeping an open line of communication about your child’s digestive health can help keep kids healthy and happy.