Constipation and What You Need to Know About Your Child’s Bowel Movements (aka poop)
Healthy bowel habits are essential for the overall health and wellness of your child. As one of the most common concerns a parent can have, constipation, at one point or another, happens to everyone. Chronic constipation can lead to other health issues and should not be left unaddressed. Here is some valuable information about constipation, bowel habits and the impact they can have on your child’s health.
Constipation and how the Frequency of Bowel Movements Affects Health
There are many reasons why a child may experience constipation, and most are benign. Diet, traveling, and not getting enough fluids to drink can impact how frequently your child goes “number 2.” Constipation occurs when your child has less than three bowel movements per week. Stools are typically hard and painful to pass and can be incomplete, meaning they do not empty completely. The result is stools that build up in the intestines, which can pose health risks over time.
How to Improve the Frequency of Bowel Movements
The three biggest factors that can impact the frequency of bowel movements are diet, hydration, and exercise. If your child isn’t eating foods that are high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables, their bowel movements will suffer. Diets high in fat can also cause constipation. Instead, provide a more balanced diet with options such as yogurt, which are loaded with probiotics to help get things moving.
Dehydration is one of the most common causes of chronic constipation. Think about it. The food you eat contains water. If you are dehydrated, the large intestine has no other choice than to pull fluid from the digested food to move stools along. The result is hard stools that are difficult to pass. Make sure your kids drink plenty of water throughout the day.
If your child is not getting enough exercise through play, sports or other activities, they can easily become constipated. Exercise speeds up the heart rate and improves blood flow, which results in intestinal contractions that help move stools along. Keep constipation away by keeping them active with sports, walking, swimming, and outside play.