Constipation in children

When we speak of infantile constipation, reference is not only made to the frequency of bowel movements, but also to their characteristics (size and hardness), and also to the presence of manifestations such as pain, discomfort, avoidance postures, etc.

The pattern of defecation in children from 3 years to old age can vary from stools between 3 times a day and 3 times a week.

Chronic constipation is considered when at least two or more of the following criteria are met for 8 weeks:

- Less than 3 bowel movements a week.

- At least one episode of fecal incontinence per week.

- Retentive postures or attitudes to avoid defecation.

- Painful defecation.

- Large and hard stools.

- Excessive stools that clog the toilet.

- Training period for toilet training.

- Routine and diet changes (excess of astringent foods, fiber deficiency and lack of hydration).

- Beginning of the child's schooling.

- Stressful situations (change of house, family mourning, divorce, birth of a new member in the family, etc.).

- Postpone evacuation due to absence of bathrooms or being too busy.

1. Establish a regular potty pattern:

- Improve frequency: the child should go 1 to 2 times a day to the bathroom.

- It is recommended to go after meals.

- Take a reasonable time to stay in the bathroom between 5 and 15 minutes.

2. Changes in diet:

- Increase the consumption of liquids (water, smoothies, broths, compote water).

- Consume yogurts for their contribution of probiotics that improve intestinal health.

- The oil, consume raw as it helps to lubricate the intestine.

- Consume less astringent foods such as bananas, apples, cooked carrots, rice, pasta and white breads and cheeses.

- Increase the consumption of fibers: the incorporation of fiber in the diet should be gradual, since an excess can cause flatulence, colic and abdominal pain.

The foods with the highest fiber content are: legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, etc.), whole grains (brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, whole-grain breads, muesli, oats), especially green leafy vegetables, if applicable Consume carrot raw, fruits, the ideal is to consume it with the skin for its fiber content, orange, pear, plum and kiwi are very rich in fiber, seeds (flax, chia), nuts (nuts) and dried fruits (raisins, plums, figs), also recommended for constipation.

Wheat bran and oat bran are fibers that have the ability to absorb water and thus improve intestinal transit, it can be included in yogurts, in preparations such as stews, purees, creams, smoothies, hamburgers, it can also be mixed with breadcrumbs and coat meats and fish.

3. Perform physical exercise: exercise plays an important role as it increases peristaltic movements, improving intestinal transit.

- Any sport or physical activity is beneficial to improve constipation (swimming, walking, cycling, etc).

- You can also perform gentle massages on the child located in the abdomen (starting on the right side of the abdomen, then passing through the upper part of the navel and descending through the left part of the navel).

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