Constipation is not usually and harmful among toddlers. Different toddler’s bowel movement habits can be different; every child may not have every day bowel movement. Usually, a bowel movement less than thrice a week (or less than that which your child normally has) is indicative of constipation.
It is accompanied by hard stool which is difficult to pass. If a toddler’s constipation continues for two weeks (or more), he/she possibly has chronic constipation wanting prompt medical attention.
Understanding the causes behind constipation can help you relieve the condition. Toddler constipation can be due to the following major factors.
Constipation In Toddlers Causes
Toddlers can have skewed eating habits and this can cause constipation. If they are eating foods low in fiber and which are heavily processed ones, they are likely to experience constipation. Inadequate consumption of water can also lead to stool becoming harder than usual.
Too much sugar consumption can also lead to the condition.Change in milk, from breast milk to formula, etc., can also lead to constipation. Milk is a filling food; so if toddlers drink too much milk, they are likely to eat less generously.
Bulky and solid foods are great contributors to stool and lack of adequate intake can cause difficulty in bowel movement. Change in diet can easily affect bowel movement. Children who eat well-balanced meals are generally not constipated.
Irregular Toilet Habit
Resistance or ignorance in passing stool can be another crucial factor causing toddler constipation. Usually, toddlers are too engrossed in their activities (read play) and can easily ignore the urge to visit the toilet.
Some children are also afraid or uncomfortable to use the toilet. This can be more evident in public places. Some children can also deliberately not pass stool owing to their concern for lack of privacy or the cleanliness of the toilet.
If a toddler has had painful bowel movement earlier, there can be an obvious resistance to bowel movement for fear of the same pain. This can result in a cycle of irregular bowel movements. Stool can begin to build up and get harder and even more difficult to pass.
When stool remains in the colon, more water gets absorbed out of it, thus making it hard and dry. A change in place is another culprit because toddlers (and even adults) are used to using their normal toilet.
Toddler constipation can also be caused due to some medications or supplements. Antacids and commonly available cold medications can cause constipation.
Infants and children may experience true constipation since birth due to Hirschsprung’s disease. It is a rare condition where the colon lacks a type of nerve cells (ganglion cells) and there is lack of direction (from the brain) for the colon to work properly. Hirschsprung’s disease is usually more common in boys and babies having Down syndrome.
Children with acute lead exposure can also suffer from constipation. Stomach bug or other condition(s) adversely affecting children’s diet can also lead to constipation. Dehydration and fever arising out of an illness can lead to constipation. Bedridden children eating less also experience constipation.
Besides the above-mentioned causes, lack of adequate physical activity, sexual abuse and depression can also be causes of depression among toddlers.