Thursday, July 22, 2010

But mom- my tummy hurts! Constipation in preschoolers

I've heard this one in my own house..

Mom.. my tummy hurts..
mom.. my poop is stuck..
mom.. mom.. mom...

You get the point.

I've also seen many 3-5 year old kids who come to see me complaining of abdominal pain. It happens in older kids too, but seems to be more common in young kids.

Why is this?
I think it might have something to do with increasing awareness of their bodily functions. Three year olds are newly toilet trained and can learn to hold their bowel movements when it suits them. Then of course that leads to trouble.

What can I do about it?
If your child is afraid to have a bowel movement in the toilet, I recommend letting them use a diaper for awhile if that's what they want. If you try to get into a standoff with your child and force them to use the toilet you will loose. You can gradually encourage them to use the toilet with all sorts of techniques.

Make sure your child has adequate fluid intake. You should also encourage them to have adequate fiber intake. Here is a great site with info about constipation and fiber intake.

If your child has progressed to having abdominal pain, or nausea and you are sure the problem is constipation then you should consider a laxative. I recommend miralax. It's tasteless, easy to take and is available over the counter. It is not habit forming and works well. (and no I'm not getting paid by miralax)

If your child has severe pain, fever, vomiting or you are really concerned about them then of course have them evaluated by a medical professional!!

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1 comment:

  1. So what other types of issues could be behind the mysterious tummy pain?