Off lately I have been noticing the most discussed topic and queries from mommies in social media is “constipation in kids “.So, thought of sharing few home remedies and food habits that would eliminate this problem forever.
Before delving into this topic I think first we should know what is constipation and what causes it.
What is Constipation and It’s Symptoms ?
Constipation describes the infrequent passage of stools (bowel movements) or the passage of hard ,dry stool.Common causes include early toilet training and changes in diet. Fortunately, most cases of constipation in children are temporary and is found to be functional constipation which does not occur because of any medical condition but it’s basically fear of passing stool.
The rectum has two sets of muscles – the internal and external anal sphincters – that allow stool (poo) to pass out of the body. You are not able to control the muscles of the internal anal sphincter, but you can control the muscles of the external anal sphincter.
When stool enters the rectum, the muscles relax in the internal anal sphincter. A person has an urge to pass stool when it reaches the external anal sphincter.
If your child relaxes the external sphincter as they should, stool can leave their body. If they have functional constipation however, they will withhold their stool. They do this by tightening their external sphincter and the muscles in their bottom, known as gluteal muscles. This action pushes stool back into their body and makes them lose the urge to pass stool.
What are the signs of functional constipation?
- You might recognize the signs of functional constipation if you see your child regularly:
- walking stiffly on their tiptoes
- crossing their legs
- sitting with their heels pressed against their perineum (the area just in front of their anal opening).
Signs and symptoms of constipation in children may include:
- Less than three bowel movements a week
- Bowel movements that are hard, dry and difficult to pass
- Large-diameter stools that may obstruct the toilet
- Pain while having a bowel movement
- Abdominal pain
- Traces of liquid or clay-like stool in your child’s underwear — a sign that stool is backed up in the rectum
- Blood on the surface of hard stool
If your child fears that having a bowel movement will hurt, he or she may try to avoid it.
You may notice your child crossing his or her legs, clenching his or her buttocks, twisting his or her body, or making faces when attempting to hold stool.
When to see a doctor
Constipation in children usually isn’t serious. However, chronic constipation may lead to complications or signal an underlying condition. Take your child to a doctor if the constipation lasts longer than two weeks or is accompanied by:
- Blood in the stool
- Abdominal swelling
- Weight loss
- Painful tears in the skin around the anus (anal fissures)
Constipation most commonly occurs when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract, causing the stool to become hard and dry.
Many factors can contribute to constipation in children, including:
- Withholding: Your child may ignore the urge to have a bowel movement because he or she is afraid of the toilet or doesn’t want to take a break from play. Some children withhold when they’re away from home because they’re uncomfortable using public toilets.Painful bowel movements caused by large, hard stools also may lead to withholding. If it hurts to poop, your child may try to avoid a repeat of the distressing experience.
- Toilet training issues: If you begin toilet training too soon, your child may rebel and hold in stool. If toilet training becomes a battle of wills, a voluntary decision to ignore the urge to poop can quickly become an involuntary habit that’s tough to change.
- Changes in diet: Not enough fiber-rich fruits and vegetables or fluid in your child’s diet may cause constipation. One of the more common times for children to become constipated is when they’re switching from an all-liquid diet to one that includes solid foods.
- Changes in routine: Any changes in your child’s routine — such as travel, hot weather or stress — can affect bowel function. Children are also more likely to experience constipation when they first start school outside of the home.
- Medications: Certain antidepressants and various other drugs can contribute to constipation.
- Cow’s milk allergy: An allergy to cow’s milk or consuming too many dairy products (cheese and cow’s milk) sometimes leads to constipation.
- Family history: Children who have family members who have experienced constipation are more likely to develop constipation. This may be due to shared genetic or environmental factors.
- Medical conditions: Rarely, constipation in children indicates an anatomic malformation, a metabolic or digestive system problem, or another underlying condition.
Wonder foods that can drive away constipation in kids naturally
1. RAW PAPAYA
Partially Unripe papaya has a natural enzyme called “Papain” that digests protein.Raw or unripe papaya has the most Papain in it which acts as a natural laxative by preventing accumulation of partially digested protein in large intestine.It’s also a good source of insoluble fibre that helps to bulk up the feces in colon allowing it to move easily.
RECIPES OF RAW PAPAYA
- Cook lentils with papaya or boil it in pressure cooker and then season it with cumin, chopped onion , chopped garlic , tomato .Garnish it with coriander leaves, goes great with Rice or Roti (Indian bread).
- Cook chopped papaya and potato with ghee or clear butter by adding cumin seeds , turmeric and salt. Garnish it with coriander leaves. You can also boil papaya & potato , mash it and then season as mentioned above .If you want you can just season it with ghee or butter with cumin seeds.
2. COTTAGE CHEESE
Dairy products actually enhances constipation but Cottage Cheese is least harmful amongst dairy products.In fact it is used in relieving constipation, making poop soft and the movement easy.
Its also provides calcium and is good source of proteins.
RECIPES OF COTTAGE CHEESE
- Making of cottage cheese: Boil milk and add lemon juice or vinegar , there you are ready with your cottage cheese.
- Saute cottage cheese in olive oil or canola oil / butter along with garlic, chopped onions, bellpeper or capsicum, sweet corn season it with black pepper, oregano or dried basil and salt as per taste . You can stuff it in breads and make sandwiches or make “stuffed parathas”( Indian bread).
- Make balls of cottage cheese by adding salt , red chilli powder and white flour .Mix them all and make small balls fry them in oil and soak them in tomato or white gravy as per your choice.
- Can be eaten plain just by adding sugar / jaggery / honey, goes great with fruits like mango and banana pulp. It works like quick fix healthy dessert enhancing your health quotient.
The small , dried fruit has earned a big reputation as ” nature’s remedy for constipation “.Prunes (also called dried plums) are rich in insoluble fibre as well as the natural laxative sorbitol.
One of the easiest and handy way of taking prunes is having it’s juice , you can take 2 to 4 ounce per day.
” An apple a day , keeps the doctor away ” is a old Welsh proverb that we are all familiar with .What’s so special about this fruit ? It’s the rich content of antioxidants, flavanoids and dietary fibre.It’s this fibre that helps in relieving constipation in kids and adults.
RECIPES OF APPLES
- Make small slices of peeled apples and boil it .Give the mashed boiled apples to infants of 8 months to one year .Kids of one year or more can have raw grated apples or even thin slices , however they prefer.
- You can make oats porridge and can add apples in it.
- Give it as juice , especially in summers.
5. BROWN RICE
Brown rice can help relieve constipation because the husk, bran and germ have not been removed.It’s whole grain and contains 3.5gm of fibre and 5gm of protein in one cup.High content of fibre helps in passing stool smoothly.
Apart from offering high fibre food ,there are few other aspects to be taken care which are notified below:
To help prevent constipation in children:
Offer your child high-fibre foods. Serve your child more high-fibre foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole-grain cereals and breads. If your child isn’t used to a high-fibre food then introduce in small quantity to avoid gas and bloating.
- Encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids. Water is often the best. If reluctant to have water then give them freshly prepared fruit juice. Give them cucumber or watermelon where content is too high .They are good mineral source as well as have almost 90% water.
- Promote physical activity. Regular physical activity helps stimulate normal bowel function.
- Create a toilet routine. Regularly set aside time after meals for your child to use the toilet. If necessary, provide a footstool so that your child is comfortable sitting on the toilet and has enough leverage to release a stool.
- Remind your child to heed nature’s call. Some children get so wrapped up in in play that they ignore the urge to have a bowel movement. If such delays occur often, they can contribute to constipation.
- Review medications. If your child is taking a medication that causes constipation, ask his or her doctor about other options.
Hope, this article helps several mommies and there little one’s experience smooth morning toilet session.