The ultimate guide to relieving constipation in children

The ultimate guide to relieving constipation in children

Is your child struggling with constipation? Dive into our latest blog to learn about its causes, prevention, and a potential secret weapon to relieve constipation in children.
Caitlin Hall
by Dr Caitlin Hall (APD, PhD)
Chief Dietitian and Head of Clinical Research at myota

Constipation during childhood is not only common, but can also be particularly distressing for both the child and parents involved. Addressing constipation symptoms early can alleviate the discomfort and lead to a smoother experience for all.

What is constipation?

Constipation expresses itself in various ways, with the primary symptoms being:
  • Irregular bowel movements, occurring less than 3 times per week
  • Passage of small, hard, pellet-like stools
  • Large, hard stool that may occasionally cause bleeding
  • Pain or straining during bowel movements

How common is constipation in children?

Constipation in children is more frequent than one might think. Studies indicate that it affects anywhere from 5% to 30% of the paediatric population.

What triggers constipation symptoms?

Understanding the root causes of constipation can help in its effective management. The common triggers include:

  • Insufficient intake of fibre-rich foods like fruits and vegetables
  • Inadequate fluid consumption
  • Situations inducing stress or anxiety
  • In some cases, delayed (non-IgE mediated) allergies

Regrettably, any pain or discomfort experienced during defecation can intensify constipation symptoms, highlighting the importance of early intervention.

Relieving constipation in children

1. Promote Daily Activity: Ensure that toddlers and children under five years engage in at least 180 minutes of activity every day. This doesn't exclusively mean rigorous exercise – even activities like walking, tummy time, or a playful game of hide and seek can make a difference.

2. Prioritise Regular Fluid Intake: It's advisable to offer water or milk as the primary beverages, especially between meals. This not only aids digestion but is also beneficial for maintaining dental health.

3. Advocate for a Diverse Diet: Aiming for a consumption of around 30 different plant-based foods every week can be a great way to enhance gut health and regularity.

4. Demystify the Act of Pooing: Helping children understand the natural process can ease anxiety. Reading toilet training-themed books, setting an example, and educating them on the “perfect poop position” can make a significant difference.

If your child continues to show symptoms of constipation, always consider consulting with your GP or a health care professional. They can assess the situation, provide guidance, and recommend an appropriate course of action tailored to your child's needs. 

How can myota prebiotic fibres help?

When relieving constipation in children, it's essential to explore all available avenues. One such effective solution is introducing myota prebiotic fibres to your child's diet. These natural fibres nourish the beneficial bacteria in the gut, promoting regular bowel movements and overall gut health. Simply add half a scoop to juice, yoghurt, or sneak it into bolognaise sauce ;) 

Ready to give your child the benefits of myota prebiotic fibre blends? Learn more here.