Children's Constipation

by Sharon Hopkins

Constipation in children is a common complaint and may be caused by reasons such as dietary changes, improper toilet training and lack of physical exercise. While severe or chronic cases of constipation may require medical treatment, home remedies can effectively treat most cases of constipation in children.

Try the following home remedies for child constipation:

  • Dark corn syrup has long since been used to treat constipation in infants and children. Dark corn syrup is filled with complex sugar proteins which help retain water and keep the stools soft. You can add about a teaspoon of dark corn syrup to formula or breast milk to treat infants with constipation. For older children, a tablespoon diluted with water should do the trick. Keep in mind that its only dark corn syrup that will work and not light so do not make any substitutions.
  • Prune, pear or apple juices are excellent natural remedies for constipation in children. The fiber contained in these juices can help soften stools and encourage a bowel movement.  
  • It is also important to increase your child’s fluid intake if he is constipated. Water or other non-milk fluids are recommended instead of soft drinks, juice concentrates or smoothies and shakes.
  • Other high fiber foods that help relieve constipation include apricots, pears, peaches, plums, beans, sweet potatoes, broccoli and spinach. Whole grain pastas and breads also help regularize digestion and bowel movements.
  • Soak a handful of raisins in water for 48 hours. These raisins should be eaten first thing in the morning to relieve constipation. Grapes and raisins help tone intestinal muscles and prevent constipation.
  • Papaya is an excellent natural laxative. Give children half a papaya for breakfast to keep the digestive system functioning properly.
  • Make a natural colon cleanse by mixing the juice of half a lime and a quarter teaspoon of salt in warm water. Drink this to rid the colon of built up waste matter and to encourage elimination.
  • Stomach pains caused by constipation can be reduced with a glass of water mixed with a teaspoon of honey.
  • Massage your child’s stomach gently to reduce pain and relax abdominal muscles. This may make it easier for your child to pass a stool.
  • Add two spoons of castor oil to some warm milk and feed it to your child. This is one of the most effective natural laxatives available.
Tips to prevent constipation in children:

  • Check if your child has any food allergies or intolerance. Some children may get constipated after consuming milk and milk products due to lactose intolerance. In such cases, it is best to completely cut out such products from his diet and check if symptoms improve.
  • Constipation may develop when a child is being toilet trained. If this is the case, stop the training temporarily as your child may not be ready. It is important to praise the child for his efforts and never resort to punishment in case of accidents.
  • Avoid junk food, fatty foods and processed meals.
  • Reduce the consumption of bananas, white bread and rice as these foods can increase constipation.
  • Regular physical activity and exercise is essential for good digestion. Exercise helps food move through the stomach and intestines and improves regularity of bowel movement
Remember if none of these remedies have any effect and your child still does not have a bowel movement after 24 hours consult your doctor or pediatrician at the earliest. For infants less than four months, it would be better to contact your doctor as soon as possible especially if there are accompanying signs such as blood in the stools or severe pain and discomfort.

Warning: The reader of this article should exercise all precautionary measures while following instructions on the home remedies from this article. Avoid using any of these products if you are allergic to it. The responsibility lies with the reader and not with the site or the writer.
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