As unpleasant as it may be, occasional constipation in children is all a part of life. Unfortunately for some however, constipation problems can turn out to be a far frequent problem for them.
Therefore, depending on the circumstances, treatments for constipation in children may vary with age and severity.
* Mild or Occasional Constipation Treatment.
A.) Six to Twelve Months of Age – during this age, if your child has been recently switched from infant formula to cow’s milk, the book ‘Caring For Your Baby And Young Child’, suggest returning to his/her previous formula. Since infant formula tends to be less constipating than cow’s milk, this simple solution may do the trick. After seeing some improvement, you can place your child back on cow’s milk. In addition, some have found it helpful to add a small amount of water or prune juice to their baby’s diet.
B.) For the Breastfed Baby – it’s very rare for a breastfed baby to suffer from constipation. This could signify something amiss in the mother’s diet, or something more serious. In this instance, it’s best to consult your child’s pediatrician before making any drastic changes in your baby’s diet.
C.) For the Table Fed Toddler and Older Child – increase or add high-fiber foods to his/her diet, such as apricots, prunes, raisins, plums, broccoli, peas, beans, and whole-grain cereals and bread products (if your child is not on a gluten – free diet). In addition, decrease constipating foods, such as bananas, or non-whole grain rice and cereals. Increase your child’s water intake.
* Severe or Consistent Constipation Treatment.
In the event your child (no matter what age) reaches this stage, it would be in their best interest to visit their pediatrician. Under these circumstances, the pediatrician may prescribe a mild laxative (such as Dulcolax) or an enema. It’s vital to note however, that a parent should never administer such medications to their children unless authorized by their child’s pediatrician.
In the most severest of cases, the rectum may need to be emptied under the direct supervision of the physician, and your child would have to be retrained to establish normal bowel movement patterns.
In the severest of severest of cases, some children associate bowel movements with pain. Therefore, the pediatrician may advise the parents to use stool softeners, laxatives, or suppositories when absolutely necessary. Following these procedures, mineral oil may be administered (under the physicians orders only) to prevent your child from voluntarily avoiding defecation.
Once your child overcomes his/her fears (since the bowel movements are no longer painful due to the mineral oil), over a period of time the mineral oil is slowly reduced and withdrawn, and a high-fiber diet in addition to a regular defecation routine will be established.
Fortunately for the constipated sufferer and his/her caregiver, there are various ways to treat this often debilitating condition.