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Constipation in Child May Be Self-Induced

Constipation in a child has many definitions but some of the most basic include irregular bowel movements, and pain and/or difficulty when passing stool. In a great many cases, constipation problems are merely temporary and should disappear within a few days on their own. However, in many cases, there is some new factor in the child's life causing the constipation symptoms. Simple factors that can lead to short term constipation problems in children include:

Excessive exercise without sufficient water intake. A small child should be active and some research suggests drinking 2/3 ounces of water for every pound of body weight. For children that are really growing fast, this suggests that water intake should constantly be increasing.

Medication. Many medications are known to cause dehydration as a common side effect. Dehydration is a very common cause of constipation in a child so always look at water intake when problems arise.

Drinking caffeinated soda or pop. Caffeine is a stimulant that speeds up metabolism and the consumption rate of water. Plus, it can lead to insomnia and difficulty with concentration so caffeine should not be given to children except in very controlled amounts.

Too much milk. Calcium release is critical to the proper functioning of the colon muscles. When there is too much calcium in the body, the colon will not function properly and will cause delays in evacuation of stool. Huge amounts of research indicates cows milk (or from any other animal) shows many harmful effects. Calcium is best found in green leafy vegetables not milk. Mothers milk, overwhelming research shows, is the ONLY milk a human should drink.

Improper diet or malnutrition. Fiber intake (vegetables and fruit) is critical to normal bowel movements because it absorbs water into the colon and softens stool. Plus, fiber will actually add bulk to stool so that it is
easier to push through the colon and rectum. In cases where fiber intake is low or insufficient, stool will be small and often lumpy or even hard.

Two Times When Constipation in a Child is Likely to be Self-Induced

First, during potty training and when first using a public restroom in school or other similar facilities. Potty training can certainly lead to constipation in a child because there is added pressure. A bowel movement could previously be done whenever the child pleased but potty training forces an element of socialization upon the event. The added pressure may lead to shyness and a child withholding a bowel movement. This can cause constipation problems and create a destructive cycle. When the child truly wants to have a bowel movement, they will be unable to and the feces will dry and harden.

Second, during the eventual bowel movement, passing stool will often be painful and cause the child to want to withhold even more during the next round. Constipation problems need to addressed quickly during potty training or a destructive and potentially hazardous cycle may begin that could well travel with the child into adolescence and beyond.

Constipation in a child is also a big concern when first entering into school and having to use a public toilet. Children will try to withhold a bowel movement during school to avoid embarrassment and end up causing constipation problems as a result. This is why a lot of cases of constipation in a child are actually self-induced and require some common sense scheduling for the child’s daily routine along with improvement to diet or exercise.

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