Advice from Dr. B

Pediatrician's Perspective

Address Constipation Quickly, Then Work to Fix It

Constipation hurts. A constipated child may have stomachaches in addition to pain when straining to pass a hard stool. And, when your child has had painful bowel movements, he or she may choose to "hold it in" rather than risk discomfort. This behavior can actually cause a recurrence of constipation. That's why a recently updated study recommends that parents provide quick relief for constipated children and then work to solve the problem. In the University of Michigan Health System's Guidelines for Clinical Care for "Functional Constipation and Soiling in Children," experts suggest improved outcomes with early diagnosis and treatment, such as laxatives, followed by changes to behavior and diet for longer-term success.

It's not unusual for a child to avoid going to the bathroom for any number of reasons, in particular, the association of pain when straining on the potty. But, the problem is that when a child holds in stool, the colon absorbs water from the stool, making it hard, dry and difficult to pass. If your child experiences constipation, it's important to relieve it as soon as possible, so the bathroom doesn't become an unpleasant experience.

Pedia-Lax®, a full line of laxatives for children, provides fast relief within hours. Pedia-Lax® Chewable Tablets work quickly in 30 minutes to 6 hours. Other products that are not formulated for children, can take days to work.

It's important to work to fix the problem of recurring constipation to help your child achieve long-term success. Tracking your child's bowel movements to ensure that he or she remains on the right path is the first step and can be done by using Pedia-Lax's Poop Journal. In addition, it's important to focus on specific habits, such as daily exercise and making sure your child is drinking enough water. Fiber also plays an important role because it softens stool to help move it through the colon. Fiber is found in foods like whole grains, fruits and vegetables.

Constipation is a pain for parents and kids. However, by identifying the problem and relieving the symptoms, children can get back into their normal routines without developing bad bathroom habits.

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