The human body truly is a wonder. For the most part, we can walk and talk; work and play; think and feel – and all of this is accomplished through the wonder of our body.
Think of it like a machine, one that is specific for you and only you, and in order for your ‘machine’ to work, you need to give it fuel – or in our case, food. However, whatever goes in, must come out…but what happens when it doesn’t?
Constipation is something that the majority of us have experienced before in varying degrees; however, what all of those degrees have in common is unpleasantness. Now, imagine that unpleasantness, but in a child. That’s the equation of nightmares.
Thankfully, a new study is showing promising results when it comes to childhood constipation with a ‘new,’ non-medicinal and nonintrusive remedy.
Best of all, it is something they should be doing anyways.
The study focused on 53 school-age children ranging from 5 to 16 years old with a condition known as functional constipation. This is a common type of problem among children and can be caused by psychological or neurological issues. It is important to note, that this type of constipation isn’t caused by physical or hormonal catalysts.
Of these 53 participants, each one received the standard of care for constipation; which included toilet training, education and laxatives.
27 of those 53, selected at random, also got physical therapy.
Skip 6 months into the future and an impressive 92 percent of the participants in the physical therapy group no longer suffered from functional constipation, in contrast with 63 percent of the kids who didn’t receive the same physical activity.
“While most people associate ‘muscles’ with ‘strength’, they do more than assist in lifting heavy objects,” said lead study author Marieke van Engelenburg – van Lonkhuyzen, a researcher at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.
Engelenburg believes that children with functional constipation could suffer from a weak pelvic floor, be it from poor posture or from sitting on an adult-sized toilet not meant for their smaller frame.
The pelvic floor muscles, while you might not associate them with digestion, actually work closely with the diaphragm, lower back and abdominal muscles to help support the spine, which in turn, helps to stabilize and promote bowel movements and healthy digestion.
“Effective, voluntary and involuntary, contraction and relaxation must be present when passing urine or feces on the toilet, to avoid dysfunctional voiding or constipation,” Engelenburg would go on to say.
You need only ask any parent with a constipated child to know how difficult it is on not only the child, but the entire family. Thankfully, this study suggests that it might just be advantageous to start your kids off right on a physically active track at a young age, so as it will not only help keep them fit and healthy, but also regular.