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The Constipation Conundrum: Common Symptoms and Treatments

Most parents will likely agree that one of the hardest parts of parenthood is seeing their children suffer from any sort of pain – emotional or physical.  Kids will go through their growing pains regardless of how we do our best to protect them.

And, that means they will sometimes deal with the painful parts of growing up like getting their hearts broken, learning how to deal with bullies, and health issues like constipation.

The good news is constipation is one of the most common issues among children. The bad news is, even though it’s relatively easy to treat, it is no fun for a child to suffer from constipation and it certainly isn’t fun for parents to watch their children struggle with the effects of constipation.

Constipation is generally not a serious condition and can be the result of a child simply ignoring the urge to go to the toilet, a diet that is too low in fiber, a side effect of medication, or a gastrointestinal problem.

Is Your Child Suffering from Constipation?

Determining whether your child has constipation may be easy or difficult depending on your child. If your child is old enough to verbalize how he feels, he can alert you that something is wrong. If your child cannot yet verbalize, you’ll need to look for the common signs of constipation in children, including:

  • Fewer than two bowel movements a week
  • Dry, hard stools
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Struggling to have a bowel movement

You may also notice your child acting differently, which could signal that he is suffering from constipation. Such signs might include your child hunching over or grabbing his stomach or abdomen.

In addition, sometimes children also experience more severe symptoms that warrant immediate medical attention. If your child experiences any of the following symptoms, be sure to seek medical advice as soon as possible:

  • Swollen abdomen
  • Vomiting
  • Blood in stool
  • Weight loss
  • Fever

Barring the exhibiting of any severe symptoms, constipation is not considered a problem unless a child suffers from it for two weeks or more. In that case, your child may be experiencing chronic constipation and should be seen by a doctor.

How to Treat Constipation

Your first instinct, when you notice your child has constipation, may be to give him a laxative or head to the pharmacy for an over-the-counter medication. Laxatives and over-the-counter medications should generally not be given to children unless directed to by a doctor.

Soak in a warm bath

Constipation can generally be treated through natural methods. Sometimes it’s as simple as putting your child into a warm bath. A warm bath can help your child relax which, in turn, will help her muscles relax, encouraging a bowel movement. The warm bath may not work, but if it’s already a part of your child’s routine, it’s an easy option to try.

Pay careful attention to diet and liquid intake

Sometimes constipation is the result of not getting enough dietary fiber. Fiber can be found in such foods as vegetables, fruits, and even whole wheat bread. Avoid feeding sugary foods when your child is dealing with constipation.

Make sure your child drinks enough liquids, including water, each day. Drinking enough water is also important to remaining hydrated and reversing constipation. Prune juice may also be an effective way to kick the constipation.

To ensure your child is eating an adequate diet and drinking enough liquids, talk with your child’s pediatrician who can provide you with the proper dietary requirements for your child’s age.

Encourage regular toilet use

Some children need to develop the habit of regularly going to the toilet. Encourage your child to use the toilet, particularly after finishing a meal, according to The National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse. Regular bathroom use can help curb bouts of constipation.

Stay active

Today’s kids are so attuned with technology that sometimes they don’t get the exercise they need to stay healthy and happy. Exercise can help your child overcome – and even avoid – bouts of constipation. Encourage your child to put down the computer, the tablet, and the mobile phone, and get outside and play each day. Running around, riding a bike, playing basketball, or getting on the skateboard are all great ways to exert energy, stay in shape, and fight constipation.

Even though constipation is a common part of childhood, it can be curbed or even avoided altogether if you are proactive. However, sometimes children suffer from chronic constipation, which lasts two weeks or more, and will need medical intervention to get better. If you’re worried about your child, call his pediatrician for guidance.

One of the best ways to approach common childhood problems is through sharing with your child. Carve some time out of each evening before bed to read the Meta4Kids story The Baseball Player, the compelling story of a young ball player who overcomes a big challenge to realize his dream of making the baseball team. Through this powerful story, you and your child will learn how to learn how to quickly, easily, and effectively overcome constipation.

This story was the first ever written by the creator of Meta4Kids stories, Stuart Walter. These stories are delivered by the parents and the child is drawn to a solution to a situation by becoming part of the story and the problem is resolved. Just is the case for young Eddy who after 1 read of a story was free of the blockage and with no pain.

Take time to select the individual story, 3 packs or the complete Meta4Kids Toolbox that will suit your needs at www.meta4kids.com.au

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