Top Things You Need to Know About Constipation

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by Michelle Kolsi, MD

One of the most common concerns a pediatrician hears from parents is when their child is suffering from constipation. Dr. Michelle Kolsi in Glendale, California understands the kind of stress the child and parents are going through and is armed with an arsenal of tips and tricks to relieve the child’s discomfort. Dr. Kolsi effectively treats her patients’ constipation needs, often without the use of prescription medications.

What is constipation?

Constipation is very common in children. Often caused by changes in diet, toilet training, or a lack of fluids, constipated children have infrequent bowel movements or dry, hard stools. By definition, a child is constipated if they have bowel movements that are difficult to pass, occur less than three times a week, have a large diameter, or blood on the surface. Your child may also have abdominal pain during a bowel movement or traces of stool in their underwear from having stool backed up in the rectum.

What causes a child to become constipated?

Constipation in children can have several possible causes.

Your child is afraid of the toilet, does not want to break away from playing, or knows it will hurt to have a bowel movement so avoids it as long as possible.

Toilet training
If you begin toilet training too soon, many children hold their stool in an attempt to rebel.

Changes in diet or routine
Your child’s not getting enough fiber in their diet, traveling, stress, or even switching from an all liquid diet to solid foods can cause constipation.

Some medications contribute to constipation, especially anti-depressants.

Food allergies
Allergies to some foods, particularly cow’s milk, can result in constipation.

Family history or medical conditions
Sometimes, in spite of all of our best efforts, our children have an underlying medical condition or shared genetic factors that can affect a child’s ability to have a bowel movement.

How is constipation treated?

If you child is experiencing frequent constipation, it is important to discuss their symptoms with Dr.Kolsi.

After a thorough examination, Dr. Kolsi can determine if your child needs an over-the-counter stool softener, laxative, or fiber supplement to help make it easier to have a bowel movement. She may also suggest massage or other home remedies to relieve your child’s symptoms when they occur.

Most importantly, only Dr. Kolsi can rule out underlying medical conditions or other illnesses that are causing your child’s constipation.

Never give your child a laxative, enema, or other over-the-counter medication without first consulting with Dr. Kolsi for accurate dosage instructions.

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