Constipation in children; well, that’s a loaded topic-no pun intended.
If your child is struggling with constipation, my first thought is that they are probably not drinking enough water; this means water, not soda, not milk, not juice-water. Anyone should be drinking ½ their body weight in oz/day and more if exercising.
Exercising daily will also help as it increases the heart rate and blood flow, improving the intestinal contractions along the digestive tract. Encourage your child to be physically active daily. Generally, the more exercise, the better; the human body is designed to move.
If your child is good about drinking water, then perhaps there are other circumstances contributing to their constipation. There may be a stressful situation in the home, too many commitments, or possible bullying at school. There could be a lack of fiber in the diet, or actual GI complications. It is necessary to investigate all possible contributing factors.
Some older children will not feel comfortable in public restrooms or other situations, but this needs to be resolved because holding a bowel movement will only continue to increase the problem and cause serious lifetime health issues. It is a natural bodily task to eliminate waste. Holding a bowel movement allows toxins that should have been eliminated to be reabsorbed into the system, compromising their health.
Diet is another important factor, along with water and exercise, in addressing constipation. Some of the more constipating foods would be cheese and wheat and, therefore, need to be eliminated or reduced. Are they eating berries, beans, legumes, green vegetables? Fiber and water also need to be increased. If you have been doing all these things and they continue having issues; foods like beets, apple sauce, and prunes may all help.
I would suggest looking at all circumstances surrounding the child and what areas could be improved upon. Remember, you are the adult, and you are the one controlling what your child is ingesting. This can seem like an overwhelming task if these habits were not set up as an infant and young child. Small changes in their food may not even be noticed by your child.
One website that may help you get ideas is www.100daysofrealfood.com.
Remember, 80% of your immune system is in your gut, and the sooner constipation is resolved, the healthier their life will become.
Keep in mind if you are breast feeding, you have to be the one eating a healthy diet in order for your child to have the right nutrients for peristalsis- the involuntary constriction and relaxation of the muscles of the intestine, creating wave-like movements that push the contents of the canal forward.
If still not progressing, a nutritional consult in person or by phone would be an excellent option. I would take a detailed history and perhaps recommend some whole food supplements to correct the child’s GI dysfunction. Often a chiropractic adjustment will free the nerves supplying the gastrointestinal tract and improve the body as a whole.
Have you complimented your child today?
In addition, you could start with this excellent multivitamin for children.