Monday, April 9, 2012

Health Diet - Controlling and Treating Constipation in Children

Posted by Sarah Sweetz Akhza at 10:51 PM
Health Diet - Controlling and Treating Constipation in Children

Constipation in children can be very frustrating, as once the child is potty trained and old enough to keep itself clean [bathing, brushing and wiping included] the parent tends to just check if they are clean behind the ears, have brushed their teeth/hair, etc. Most mums do try to keep a eye on the child's bowel movements, but in the busy life we lead today, many working moms cannot even remember when they last went, let alone the child.

The only time a parent knows the child [sadly children do not think that having a bowel movement on a daily basis is important, and they often put it off to go play with their buddies] is having a bowel problem [especially the pre-teenage years] is when the child goes off its food, mainly because the child feels too uncomfortable and starts making all kinds of excuses as to why they don't want to eat.

Causes of constipation in children

A high fat and low fiber diet is one of the main causes in constipation, kids coming in from school raid the fridge for the easiest foods they can find [sadly, the days of stay at home mums have long passed].

These foods generally include a lot of milk and other dairy products [left over pizza, cheese, yogurt, etc]. Even though the parent makes sure there are apples, oranges and other fruits available, the child will generally ignore these for a faster snack.

To counter-act this habit of the child's try these few changes:

* get low fat or soy milk, it is less constipating than full cream [limit the child if possible to a glass a day, not recommended for kids under 2]
* ensure there is fresh orange available at all times [fortified with calcium as the childs dairy intake is now going to be limited]
* find and purchase some high fiber snacks
* increase the amount of fiber and bran in the breakfast cereal you purchase
* try getting a variety of fruit juices [encourage the child to rather drink these]
* try encourage the drinking of more water

The following foods are thought to be constipating and should be limited:
[do not make these easily available to the child]

* cheese, yogurt or ice cream
* french fries
* processed foods
* high fat foods
* white rice
* cooked carrots

Some food and drink that will help prevent constipation:
[encourage the child to consume these instead of sweets and junk food]

* fruits that you can consume without removing the skin - grapes, apples etc
* fruits with a high liquid content - watermelon for example
* prunes or figs - fresh or dried
* raisins
* whole wheat breads, biscuits or rolls
* raw vegetables
* bran muffins
* popcorn
* veggie soup

Try to encourage your child to let you know when his bowels have moved [just not at the dinner table] or when his tummy is feeling uncomfortable. By getting the child to open up about his bowels you will save yourself and the child a lot of stress. Do not be afraid to use a stool softener, as trying to cure constipation by diet alone can take a few months, and we need to alleviate the child's discomfort as soon as we notice it [so that he is not to uncomfortable or scared to eat the new foods you are trying to promote].

Always remember - constipation can be a underlying cause of something more serious [if no improvement is made by the diet change] consult your doctor.

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