If none of the home care measures is working, call the doctor. He or she may prescribe a laxative. The type of laxative depends on the age of the child and the exact problem. You may need to make an appointment with a doctor.
If the child has significant abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, fever, or bloody diarrhea, he or she needs to see a doctor immediately. Many of these symptoms can be related to constipation. Some of them, however, can indicate a serious medical condition.
A few important steps at home can keep constipation from becoming a continuous problem:
Positive reinforcement is the first step in giving children the desire to begin regulation of their bowels. It is important to remove any negative thoughts about being constipated, especially if fecal soiling is present.
Bowel retraining is the next step. The body has a natural reflex called the gastrocolonic reflex. After a meal, the colon undergoes peristalsis and attempts to clear the bowels. Have your child take advantage of the gastrocolonic reflex after each meal. Have him or her sit on the toilet for at least 10 minutes. It is often easier for the child if the feet are on the floor or on a footstool.
Give your child plenty of fluids and juices, such as prune juice.
A well-balanced meal consisting of whole bran cereals, fruits, and vegetables with less candy and dessert also helps.
After the initial diagnosis, regular scheduled visits to the doctor should be made in order to ensure that the therapy continues to work and to prevent relapses. As soon as a problem develops, call the doctor.
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