Constipation is a very common gastrointestinal problem, wherein the evacuation of bowel is difficult and infrequent due to the hardening of stool. It could also affect children. The frequency of bowel movements often varies from one child to other. Some may have bowel movements once daily, while others may pass stools two to three times a day. However, a child becomes constipated, if the frequency is less than three times a week, and he/she experiences discomfort while passing stool. If the condition persists for several days in succession, then the case can be termed chronic. Following a few self-care measures at home can help prevent the condition from becoming chronic.
This condition is characterized by symptoms like hard, dry stools, difficulty in passage of stool, feeling of fullness in abdomen, and loss of appetite. In most cases, it is temporary and is triggered by unhealthy diet and low intake of fluids. Therefore, some dietary changes and the use of home remedies may prove beneficial.
Castor Oil: Castor oil acts as an excellent laxative for children and can be used safely, without any fear of side effects. Add one teaspoon of the oil in a glass of milk, and give it to your child daily.
Raisins: This is one of the best remedies for children. Soak 6 - 10 raisins in a bowl of water overnight. Next morning, crush the soaked raisins properly and strain the liquid. Give it to your child. It will help regularize the bowel movement.
Corn Syrup: Corn syrup is a well-known laxative that can provide relief. The sweetness of the syrup brings in additional amount of water into the bowel, which helps in softening the stool. Mix one teaspoon of the syrup in a glass of water and give it to your child daily. It may prove beneficial in case of affected infants as well.
Warm Bath: Make your child sit in a tub of warm water for some time. This helps in relaxation of the muscles, and facilitates easy passage of stool.
Honey: Mix 2 or 3 tablespoons of honey in a glass of warm milk or water. Give this to your child every morning on an empty stomach. The warm fluid, speeds up the elimination of waste products from the body.
High-fiber Diet: Fresh fruits such as apple, guava, papaya, mangoes, peaches, plums, grapes, etc., supply sufficient roughage, and are known to reduce constipation. Various dry fruits like prunes, dates, and figs are also considered to be excellent laxatives for children. Vegetables like French beans, spinach, cabbage, carrot, and turnip have high fiber content, that can treat the condition in children.
Plenty of Fluids: Fluid intake should also be increased to improve the bowel movements. Plenty of fluids and fresh fruit juice such as apple juice, pear juice, and prune juice, should be given to regularize the bowel movement.
The aforementioned home remedies can cure the problem in a very short span of time. Also, all kinds of unhealthy junk food like fried and sugary food items need to be eliminated from the diet. Along with this, the habit of regular bowel movement should be developed in children, to take advantage of the body's normal urge to empty the bowel.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.