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The Facts About Toddler Constipation

Some rather obvious and painful things come to mind when you think about constipation:  infrequent bowel movements, dry or hard stool, or perhaps even pain and difficulty when trying to have a bowel movement.  Now, just try to imagine all those same symptoms in toddler constipation.  Unlike with adults who can seek constipation relief, a child must endure the pain and discomfort of this condition until the parents realize what is going on or it simply goes away on its own.  More often than not, however, toddler constipation does not simply go away on its own and the child must bear the pain until an adult can help them.

Signs of Toddler Constipation

 One of the surest ways to spot toddler constipation is within the stool itself.  Dry or hard stool is a definite indication of constipation caused by lack of water.  Also, if the stool size has decreased and a lot of little “pellet-like” pieces are present when changing a diaper, toddler constipation should be suspected.

Believe it or not, toddler constipation may be present if your baby has a diaper rash.  One of the well-known causes of constipation is delaying bowel movements.  When a baby has a diaper rash or even a cut on the anus, toddler constipation may result because the child will withhold bowel movements to avoid the pain.  This will actually worsen the constipation and lead to an even greater blockage.

Finally, a parent should definitely notice if their infant is not having the frequency of bowel movements as they used to.  In general, toddler constipation will be diagnosed if 4 or more days have gone by without a movement.  The exception to this rule is for babies who have been breast fed as they can go 7 days between movements and be considered normal.  Still, a parent will know when their child is going longer than normal between bowel movements and should consider it a possible sign of toddler constipation.

Treatment of Toddler Constipation

 Just as with adults, diet is generally the culprit with toddler constipation.  Hard and dry stool is generally caused by lack of water while infrequent movements are due to a lack of fiber.  However, because babies will withhold bowel movements when they are having difficulty or pain, toddler constipation may not go away even after the diet has been fixed.

It is generally necessary to relieve toddler constipation with a suppository because laxatives are too harsh and difficult to give to small children for fear of choking.  It is also possible to orally administer a liquid medicine to free up the bowels but only products using all-natural ingredients are recommended due to the potential side effects caused by chemicals.  If the toddler constipation persists for more than 3 or 4 days, see your pediatrician immediately.

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