Together with Miraco Nutripharm, let’s find out more about constipation in children and what we as parents can do to help them!
Welcome back to the 3rd session of the 4 weeks collaboration between BYKidO and Miraco Nutripharm. We will be covering a range of common gastrointestinal disorders:
For the 3rd session, let’s find out more about constipation in children and what we as parents can do to help them! Don't forget to take part in our weekly giveaway at the end of this article, and you will stand to win a set of probiotics - 1 full size bottle of BioDrop plus 1 full box of Pro-Gut™, worth $89.90
Source: polkadot / Adobe Stock
What is Constipation?
Constipation is the change in bowel habits that can manifest as hard or small stools, infrequent bowel movements or difficulty passing stools.1 Constipation is a common problem in children of all ages.
Most children who experience constipation do not have any serious underlying medical issues causing it. Constipation generally goes away with changes in diet, behaviour or sometimes with medicine.1
Common Causes of Constipation1
Constipation can be caused by several factors, including but not limited to:
- Poor diet lacking in adequate fibre and fluids: Maintaining a diet rich in fibre and consuming sufficient fluids increases the frequency of bowel movements as they help to produce softer stools that are easier to pass.
- Prolonged periods of inactivity or a lack of exercise: Regular exercises help to decrease the amount of time needed for food to pass through our intestines. Therefore, resulting in more frequent bowel movements.
- Children may delay going to the toilet if they do not have a comfortable place to pass stools because of unfamiliar surroundings: This results in prolonged holding of stools and increased water reabsorption from the stools. Thus, stools will be usually drier, harder and more difficult to pass.
- Disorders of the digestive system such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may also cause constipation.
Signs & Symptoms of Constipation
Your child might be constipated if they2:
- Have fewer bowel movements than normal
- Are passing stools that are harder or bigger than normal
- Feel pain when passing stools
- Arch their back and cry (if still a baby)
- Avoid going to the bathroom or hide when they feel the urge to pass motion (often happens when potty training)
- Leak small amounts of faeces into the underwear even if they are toilet trained
You should bring your child to seek medical attention if2:
- They are < 4 months old
- They get constipated often
- You have been trying various methods but your child still has not passed stools yet
- There is blood in their stool, on the diaper or underwear
- Your child is in serious pain
Management of Constipation
Fruits and vegetables are generally high in fibre and can help reduce constipation. Source: bondarillia / iStock
Constipation may be managed with the following tips:
- Maintain a balanced diet rich in fibre: Fibre is often found in fruits, vegetables, wholegrains and legumes. Fibre promotes the movement of food through the digestive tract and increases stool bulk. This increases the frequency of bowel movements and makes them easier to pass.3
- Increase fluid intake: Increasing fluid intake softens stools, making them easier to pass with minimal pain.
- Avoid giving your child milk, yogurt, cheese or ice cream for a few days as some children tend to get constipated when they eat a lot of dairy products.2
- Encourage your child to sit on the toilet for 5 to 10 minutes after meals, if they are toilet trained.2: This encourages regular bowel output, reducing risk of constipation.
- Stop potty training (if you are doing it) for a while to avoid negative reinforcement2 : Some children get stressed due to potty training. Therefore, they may avoid verbalising their urge to go to the toilet to avoid this stress. Holding their bowels for a long-time result in dry and hard stools that will be even more difficult to pass.
Your child can also take probiotics to help maintain a healthy digestive system. Probiotics are what people call ‘good bacteria’ which can help with digestive issues like constipation.4: Study have found that probiotics such as Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus can promote intestinal movements, which are beneficial for improving stool frequency.5
Probiotics like Pro-Gut™ contain 3 strains of Bifidobacterium and 3 strains of Lactobacillus probiotics, therefore, able to address concerns related to constipation effectively.
As part of the collaboration between BYKidO & Miraco Nutripharm, we are currently giving away 3 sets of probiotics free each week – 1 full size bottle of BioDrop plus 1 full box of Pro-Gut™, worth $89.90, starting from 25th January 2022 (Tues).
Simply register via the link below! Winners will be contacted via email or phone.
Stay tuned and see you next week for our last session on Diarrhea & how to better manage it.
For articles on the previous topics, visit the links below:
Week 1 – Abdominal Pain
Week 2 – Bloating
- Sood MR, et al. Patient education: Constipation in infants and children (Beyond the Basics). In: UpToDate, Post, TW (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2021
- Patient education: Constipation in children (The Basics). In: UpToDate, Post, TW (Ed), UpToDate, Waltham, MA, 2021
- Mayo Clinic. 2022. How to add more fiber to your diet. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983#:~:text=A%20bulky%20stool%20is%20easier%20to%20pass%2C%20decreasing,adds%20bulk%20to%20stool.%20Helps%20maintain%20bowel%20health.> [Accessed 18 January 2022].
- Butel M-J. Probiotics, gut microbiota and health. Médecine et Maladies Infectieuses. 2014;44(1):1-8.
- Huang, R. and Hu, J., 2017. Positive Effect of Probiotics on Constipation in Children: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Six Randomized Controlled Trials. Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology, 7.
Disclaimer: This article is intended for informational purposes only and does not provide or constitute any medical advice. You should not use the information for diagnosing or treating a health problem. All information stated in this article is accurate at time of publication and is subjected to change without notice. Miraco Nutripharm Pte Ltd will not be held accountable for the management of patients, including but not limited to their health outcomes.