Constipation in children is not just about diet

Constipation is one of the most common problems in children. While many parents complain about this situation in their children; The little ones may experience severe pain due to constipation. associate Dr Burhan Aksu said: “Children who have painful and hard stools despite defecating every day should also be considered constipated. The number of stools varies with the age of the child. While there may be 4-10 stools per day in infants, the number of stools decreases in older children depending on the type of feeding and diet, and in later life changes to once-a-day stools.

It is most common in breastfed children.

associate Dr. Aksu continued:

“Constipation in breastfed children and during potty training is temporary. Apart from this, the causes of constipation that require treatment can be organic causes, depending on an underlying disease, or functional causes, which is the most common condition. We can define functional constipation as stool retention. There is no underlying organic cause. It is the leading cause of constipation in children. It is seen in children who voluntarily hold their poop or not. It happens for family, environmental, social and cultural reasons. The child continues to defecate for social reasons such as leaving the family which is a major event affecting the child’s social life, and going to school which affects social life, problems with the caregiver, incompatibility with siblings, incompatibility with friends, failure in school, not wanting to go to the toilet for hygienic reasons outside the home, not leaving the computer and television.

Stool that accumulates in the last part of the intestine, called the rectum, hardens and solidifies over time. It’s hard to expel. In the meantime, cracks are forming around the tailpiece. These cracks then cause painful defecation, and because of this pain, the child is afraid to defecate, and the stool that accumulates in the rectum becomes harder and becomes difficult to expel voluntarily. This creates a vicious circle. Stool that accumulates in the rectum involuntarily overflows from time to time and soils the underwear, and involuntary defecation occurs. If this situation continues, the nerves and muscles involved in defecation become lazy and the event enters a difficult process to treat. Various organic causes can be counted, such as congenital anatomical disorders, diseases of the nervous tissue in the intestine, diseases of the gastrointestinal system, endocrine diseases, diseases of the nervous system, connective and muscle tissue diseases, but these are diseases that are rarely diagnosed as the cause of constipation.

Treatment is determined by the cause

Continuing his words, Assoc. Dr. Aksu also said: “Congenital constipation usually suggests an organic cause, such as underlying Hirschprung’s disease. Constipation occurring in old age mainly suggests a functional cause. Imaging studies and, in some cases, biopsies are used in conjunction with a complete physical examination to determine the suspected cause. First of all, if there are crack-like conditions in the anus due to constipation, they must be treated. If there is hardened stool in the rectum, it may be necessary to empty the rectum and bowel with an enema. If Hirschprung’s disease, rectal stenosis, or other organic causes that can cause constipation are discovered, treatment is planned for the cause. In addition, the social and psychological situation that may be the cause of functional constipation must be corrected. This requires a very good dialogue between the doctor, the family and the child. Both the family and the child must be well informed about this.”

Toilet habit is important

Aksu emphasized the importance of potty training in this process, saying: “Constipation has made the bowels lazy and weakened the sensory nerves. For this reason, the child is supposed to go to the toilet after every meal, especially after breakfast, and reactivate the sensory nerves by sitting on the toilet for at least 10 minutes to regain the toilet habit. When he feels the need to defecate during the day, it is recommended to go to the toilet without waiting. are fully extended in the toilet and a booster seat is placed under the feet of children sitting on the toilet, so that an ideal defecation position is assumed.”

High fiber foods should be consumed

Aksu, who also provides nutritional advice against the problem of constipation, says: “For a soft bowel movement, a diet high in fiber, fiber and a lot of fluids is provided. Mediterranean dishes and many fruits and vegetables should be eaten with their skins on. In addition, avoiding processed foods is an important dietary practice that prevents constipation.

Do not take any medication unless recommended by the doctor.

Finally, Aksu, who also warned against drugs, said: “Laxatives and stool softeners may be recommended to keep the bowels working and prevent stool build-up, but they should not be used unconsciously unless recommended by the doctor. Constipation in children is a condition that must be treated. cause problems, so the doctor, family and child should always be in touch with the treatment.

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