8 Natural Ways to Treat Constipated Kids
Thought constipation was just a problem for elderly people? You’ll be surprised at how often even young children can feel backed up! While an occasional bout usually isn’t a big deal, it’s a major pain if you’re dealing with a chronic problem.
Below are some natural ways to treat constipation and keep your child’s digestive tract moving:
If a child is dehydrated, chances are there isn’t enough fluid in lower digestive tract for soft stools that are easier to pass. Pushing fluids restores this imbalance and makes the whole digestive system more efficient. Make sure your kids are drinking with every meal, offer water in between meals, and avoid sodas and caffeinated drinks that can actually contribute to dehydration. They should be getting around 6-8 8-ounce glasses of hydrating fluids a day – and might need more than that if they are very active, or if the weather is warm.
Increase Activity Levels
If your child is a couch potato, they’re at a much higher risk for constipation. Regular exercise helps to increase peristalsis, the muscular movement along the whole digestive tract which pushes food through from the mouth to its final destination in the colon. Even something as simple as taking a walk with a child who is constipated can give them that urge to go.
To prevent constipation from happening again in the future, make sure that exercise is a part of your kid's day. Walk to school if you are able – or take a walk in the park when school is out. Give kids some playtime outside daily, and make sure their weekends are active as well. It’s not just good for constipation, but for your child’s immunity, heart, and lung function as well as bone and muscle development!
Bulk Up on the Fiber
Fiber is essential for good bowel health. It literally bulks up the stools, making them easier for children to pass, and generally improves the efficiency of the digestive system. Fresh fruits and veggies are a great source of fiber as well as whole grain products like oatmeal. If your kid won’t eat a bowl of oatmeal to save his life, Cheerios or homemade oatmeal muffins are great substitutes.
Set a Routine
Some kids get constipated because they’re so busy that they ignore the call of nature or put off going to the bathroom right away. Prevent this by getting into a “potty routine” where they at least attempt to go to the bathroom throughout the day. Before breakfast, when they get home from school, before dinner and before bedtime are all great times of day to make the attempt. Sometimes, just the setting up of a schedule by itself can solve the problem.
Let’s Talk about Prunes
Whole prunes or prune juice is a great way to naturally improve constipation problems. They’re loaded with fiber, but also contain a compound called dihydroxyphenyl isatin, which acts to stimulate the muscles of the colon and makes it easier to pass stools.
For kids who are really stubborn, try serving Plum Smart instead. Made from fresh plums rather than dried prunes, it tastes very much like grape juice but still helps clear up constipation.
Drink Your Lemons
Lemon water is a great remedy for constipation because it contributes to good hydration levels. The lemon itself helps to improve digestion as a whole and contains a special form of fiber called pectin, which can help to also make stools easier to pass.
Fresh-squeezed lemon and water does the trick here, but most kids find it easier to drink down if you sweeten it with honey to make a lemonade.
For another palatable constipation remedy, try giving your child a tablespoon full of blackstrap molasses at bedtime. Most children find that they like the taste of this old-timey constipation treatment, and you’ll feel better knowing that this is giving them a good dose of magnesium; good for constipation problems.
Most people think of aloe as being a topical treatment, but it can be used internally as well. Aloe “juice” can be purchased at any health food store. It soothes an upset stomach (which frequently goes along with constipation) and can stimulate the digestive tract.
A Few Points to Consider
- If your child has chronic constipation and nothing helps, take them to the doctor for further evaluation, as this might be an indication of some underlying medical problem.
- Before trying a commercial laxative, again consult with your child’s doctor for guidance. While these laxatives may be a short-term solution, long-term use can cause laxative dependence, a condition where someone needs a laxative to go to the bathroom at all!
- Be patient. It may take a while using these natural remedies to re-establish a regular pattern of bowel movements.
What remedies have you found useful for treating your child’s constipation? Share your tips in the comments below!Tags : health constipation alternative medicine natural remedies