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There are many reasons why constipation can happen, including diet, medications, activity, diseases and disorders. It can sometimes occur in young children, making it difficult to distinguish from colic. Children can also suffer from intentional stool retention, which is constipation due to stress when they’re not ready for toilet training.
Some children under the age of 5 have problems controlling their fecal excretion reflux, or have a fear of sitting on the toilet. This causes difficult bowel movements, which can lead to them intentionally holding back their stool, causing it to build up in their body. Such a habit can cause constipation. Keep this in mind and observe your child’s behavior.
Constipation is generally difficult to define, as there are no clear indications of what is ‘normal’ in terms of the frequency of bowel movements, and symptoms may vary from child to child. Here are some signs if you’re concerned that your child could be suffering from constipation.
Not all constipation incidents need medical attention. Before you rush to your medical practitioner, you may want to try these tips at home to ease the situation.
If your child is formula-fed, try a different formula. Research the ingredients found in the formula milk to understand its effects. Formula milk that is made with minimal processing (mild heat treatment) will be easier to digest, compared to heavily processed ones.
Interested to know what a ‘good’ feces looks like? The Bristol stool scale is a 7-point standard used for clinical practice and research, and a good indication of whether your child has constipation. Check your child’s stool content and compare it with the following guide. Normal feces should be the texture of Types 4 to 6, rather than dry and lumpy as shown in Types 1 to 3.
If your child has experienced this condition for a prolonged period, it would be wise to call your doctor. Your healthcare professional may prescribe probiotics, laxatives, or even surgical treatment for critical cases or organic causes. Do seek medical attention if your child is suffering from any of these following symptoms.
We hope this article has helped answer some of the questions you may have for child constipation. If in doubt, be sure to consult a medical professional for advice.
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