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Constipation in Children: Understanding and Treating This Common Problem



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this video is to explain why

constipation happens to children and

what you can do to fix it

sometimes constipation shows up as large

hard stools that are painful to push out

some children go days or even weeks

between normal bowel movements some

children with constipation have bowel

movements every day it can cause a lot

of other symptoms and children

especially abdominal pain nausea or

appetite soiling or poo accidents blood

in the stool and even bladder infections

every child is different and not all

children show obvious signs of

constipation to their caregivers

this makes constipation a sneaky problem

most often it has been going on a lot

longer than we think even for years

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most often the problem starts when a

child is very young sometimes even less

than one year old what happens first is

that a child passes the painful bowel

movement the child's response is to hold

the next poo in as long as possible to

avoid any more pain since the colon is

always sucking the water out of the poo

inside the longer a poo is held in the

bigger and harder it gets when the next

poo finally comes out it hurts even

worse so the child holds the next poo in

even longer

this makes the next poop even bigger and

even more painful this is the cycle of

constipation developing a habit of

holding in poo creates a bad problem

older children hold in poo to avoid

using the school toilet or so they don't

have to stop playing

some children show outward signs that

they're holding in their poop but others

don't

the problem with holding improve too

long is that the colon gets bigger and

more floppy over time it's like blowing

up a balloon and letting the air out

over and over again some children pass

very large poo that clogs the toilet

this is an outward sign of how big and

stretched out things are on the inside

at this point children may not have a

strong urge to go poo this is what makes

constipation a sneaky problem your child

can walk around all the time full of poo

and ignore the feeling that the colon is

full constipation can get worse and

worse over many years without the family

even noticing the colon is a muscle when

it's stretched too far it gets weaker

this makes it harder for a child to

squeeze all the poo out some children

may start to leak poo into their

underwear without even noticing small

liquid poo can come out in between big

hard poops this is like water flowing

around the rocks and a stream signs that

the colon is full and overflowing

include poo accidents or dirty underwear

so to summarise chronic constipation

happens when poo is held in over and

over the colon gets big and floppy your

child walks around full of poo without

feeling it and without a way to empty it

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the good news is that almost all of this

can be fixed it is an easy build and

takes a minimum of six months of

treatment often longer there are three

important pieces to treatment one a

colon clean-out two daily medicines to

keep the poo soft and three toilet time

to retrain the body a colon clean-out is

drinking large amounts of laxatives at

home over as many days as it takes to

flush out all of the food the end result

is liquid stool that is as clear as tea

or urine the other steps in constipation

treatment won't work if the colon isn't

clean a child will need to be home from

school because he will be using the

toilet most of the day many children

have tried to clean out the colon in the

past and failed the biggest reasons why

a clean-out fails are one not drinking

enough laxatives to not taking laxatives

for enough days in a row and three

stopping laxatives before the poo is

coming out clear do your best to take

all the laxatives prescribed by your

care team and keep going until the child

is clean

keeping the colon empty means taking

medicine every single day to keep the

poo very soft when the colon stays empty

for several months in a row it can

shrink back to normal size yet it's

feeling back and get stronger as this

happens other symptoms like poo accident

abdominal pain and blood in the stool

will start to improve this is the most

important piece of treatment medicines

for chronic constipation are only a

short-term fix your child needs to break

any habit of holding in poo and relearn

to feel when the colon is full and when

it needs to be emptied we do this with

regular scheduled time sitting on the

toilet the body naturally wants to move

things out of the colon after we eat a

meal and this is the best time to sit a

child on the toilet a child should sit

for two to three minutes after every

meal even if he does not feel the urge

to go when a child passes a poo in the

toilet we celebrate with him the reward

helps the brain rebuild normal feelings

in the colon toilet time is a positive

experience a child should be praised

just for sitting a child should not be

punished for not having a poo or for

having poo accidents later this only

creates a negative experience and leads

to more holding in all the caregivers

need to be on board with a plan nothing

will work if one caregiver makes a child

sit on the toilet after lunch while

another always lets them go play instead

remember there is no quick fix for

constipation a colon clean-out is an

important first step but without a

strict long-term plan and a change in

behavior the colon just keeps filling up

and stretching out more and more

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constipation can happen over years and

can sneak up on families it leads to a

big and stretched out : that doesn't

work properly it can cause abdominal

pain

poo accidents and other symptoms with a

colon clean out over multiple days it's

necessary daily laxative medicines to

keep the poo soft and regular toilet

time your child's colon can shrink back

to normal size and be healthy again