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CONSTIPATION AND CHILDREN
In the last few blogs we have talked a lot about constipation, including diet and fiber intake. We have also discussed concerns with using Miralax, especially with children. There are other specifics regarding children and constipation that we want to address here. For instance, In regard to fiber intake, in children the amount is based on the child’s age up until the age of 10. The formula used to calculate needed fiber consumption is: the age of the child in grams plus 5 grams. For example, if a child were 6 years old, 11 grams would be the recommended fiber intake. At age 10, we start using the adult recommendation of 25-35 grams per day.
In children, the following health issues may cause constipation and other bowel problems. Be sure to let your health care clinician know if any are a concern:
- under-active thyroid
- digestive disease
- changes in the size/shape of the intestines
- changes in the size/shape of the anus
- spinal cord issues
- nerve issues
- muscle disease
- some medications
Habits and behaviors around using the potty are a big factor with children and constipation. For instance, is your child shy or afraid of using the potty? If so, the child may consciously or unconsciously hold in the bowel movement, creating problems with constipation. Some children are afraid of public restrooms as well. Often times it is recommended to ease off on toilet training for a little while when constipation is becoming an issue.
The child being a fussy eater also has an effect on constipation. If your child were eating a lot of processed foods rather than fresh fruits and vegetables, this would decrease fiber intake and affect as described above.
Other children are just “too busy” to go potty and do not want to stop what they are doing. They ignore their body’s signals that they need to go. While in other case, not getting enough exercise to help move the bowels through the intestines can be a culprit.
Why we don’t want constipation in children:
❖ When held for a long time, the poop builds up inside the rectum. It becomes larger and harder to pass. This can stretch out the rectum, allowing runny poop to leak out around the hard build up. It causes the child to soil his/her underwear. Children may not feel this leakage of poop nor do they even smell that they have soiled their underwear. In these cases, children may try to hide their underwear when this happens. Hiding the underwear is a sign your child may be constipated.
❖ Hard stools and passing large poops can cause a tear in the anus. This tear, called fissure, can bleed and be painful.
❖Straining to poop can cause blood vessels, called hemorrhoids, inside the child’s anus to become swollen and inflamed. This can also cause burning pain and bleeding.
Questions? Give me a call 816-607-3747 or message me. I’m always happy to chat.