Constipation in children – Treatment of Constipation in Children

Constipation in children is the most common problems of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Infrequent bowel movements and dry, hard stools are the primary characteristics of this disease in children. Early toilet training and changes in the diet are the main culprits for constipation in children. Laxatives can be administered to a child suffering from this GI disorder and encourage simple dietary changes like eating more fiber-rich foods and vegetables. Constipation is the most common problem in the United States, resulting in about 2 million annual visits to a doctor.

Treatment for Constipation in Children
The only treatment for constipation is dietary changes and to soften the stool, a doctor may advise certain medications. These medications are used as a maintenance therapy and are considered to be effective, safe and non-habit forming but avoid chronic use of these laxatives for a child.Commonly used medications include:

  • Milk of magnesia: This contains magnesium hydroxide, an osmotic laxative with a chalky taste that cannot be tolerated by children. Mix the medicine with 1-2 teaspoons nestle quick or tang and then make a child take the medicine.
  • Mineral oil: This is a lubricant that can be mixed with orange juice.
  • Malt soup extract: Malt has an unpleasant odor and is easily mixed with formula for younger infants.
  • Lactulose: This is also an osmotic laxative that increases the fluid in the intestines and helps in the easy passage of stools.
  • Miralax: This is a tasteless, osmotic laxative which is beneficial in relieving constipation.

The other treatment includes the intake of fiber rich diet. Fresh fruits and vegetables can be taken. Drink plenty of fluids as this can increases the bulk of the stool. This helps in the easy passage of the stools.

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