Solutions for constipation in children: mediciations, remedies...
Constipation is one of the most common digestive disorders in children. In most cases, an underlying disease is not the cause. Rather, the constipation is linked to a dietary imbalance or a prolonged period of tiredness. Nevertheless, the child’s condition must be relieved as symptoms of constipation can be painful.
Constipated children: What to do?
The first thing to do is to identify constipation so that you can relieve it quickly. One sign is a decrease in the frequency of passing of stool. As a guideline, you should know that, on average:
• infants pass stool at least once per day;
• slightly older children pass stool around 3 times per week.
That said, the frequency of passing stool can vary greatly from one baby (or young child) to another. Moreover, the spacing between stools naturally becomes longer with time, which makes sense given that the baby’s digestive tract grows.
As such, as long as your child is not suffering from abdominal pain, has no difficulties passing stool and the latter looks normal (neither dry nor too big/small), he or she is probably not constipated.
However, if your child is showing clear signs of constipation, you should ask a paediatrician for recommendations or a suitable treatment.
What treatment is available for constipation in children?
Children can be given laxatives, but not the same ones as those taken by adults. It is best to consult a paediatrician who, if necessary, will prescribe a laxative suppository suitable for your child’s age. At the same time, make sure to:
• make sure your child drinks plenty of water (dehydration is a possible cause of constipation)
• change your child’s diet by increasing fibre intake (e.g. whole grains, prunes and other “laxative foods”).
Limit, but do not completely do away with, constipating foods such as sweets, rice and bananas. As for babies, your paediatrician can prescribe a different milk.
Constipation in children: Natural remedies?
When it comes to constipation in children, medications are not necessarily a must. You can try alternative solutions, such as homoeopathic remedies or herbal tea. Plant-based dietary supplements that are rich in fibre can also be used.
OptiFibre®, made up of guar gum that has been partially hydrolysed to make it easier to consume, helps supplement fibre intake in children over 3 years old. Recommended fibre intake varies with age, which means that it is important to follow the instructions on the packet or consult a doctor to adjust the daily dose of fibre to be consumed.
Regardless of the remedy envisaged, make sure that it is suitable for your child’s age and administer the correct dosage. If in doubt, consult a pharmacist.