Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Kids get Holiday Constipation

As parents, we have to do a lot of gross things. To think, you finally get the kids out of diapers and you still need to talk about poop! I had no idea kids sometimes need surgery due to constipation! That is crazy! Here's the latest word on kids and holiday constipation:

Constipation in Kids Just As Serious as Asthma

From Many children have issues with constipation during the holidays - their schedules are off, they don’t like strange bathrooms and they’re eating more holiday treats. Now, a new study finds childhood constipation is not just a minor inconvenience- it can actually be a serious problem and a serious cost as well! We have some valuable tips for parents to keep things moving regularly:

Car and airplane trips, holiday goodies, new toys, and unfamiliar surroundings. The holidays are a crazy time for kids, often causing their bathroom habits to get out of whack. What might sound like a minor inconvenience is actually a common, sometimes serious problem for children, and not just around the holidays. Now a new study finds childhood constipation is costing us all.

Trips to the bathroom are pretty routine for Kevin Wallace, but it wasn’t always that way. A small case of constipation turned into a big problem that took money, time and effort to fix.
“It was very traumatic for both of us, because I’m pushing him to do something and he’s telling
me he’s done it and come to find out he was doing the best he could, I just wasn’t aware of the
symptoms,” says Linda Wallace, Kevin’s mother.

And the Wallace’s aren’t alone. One in four children will have constipation at some point, caused
by a number of things like, not eating enough fiber or fruits and vegetables, not wanting to use
unfamiliar bathrooms and ignoring the urge to go while playing.

“And children have a very concrete way of thinking. If something doesn’t feel good, ‘I’ll never
do that again,” says Carlo Di Lorenzo, MD at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

In a new study, Doctor Carlo Di Lorenzo and his team at Nationwide Children’s Hospital found
constipation can lead to serious health issues and skyrocketing costs, to the tune of nearly four
billion dollars a year.* That equals the cost of treating childhood asthma or even ADHD.

Di Lorenzo, who is also with the Ohio State University, says parents don’t realize constipation
can be just as serious. It can result in pain, problems at school, and sometimes the need for

“It’s traumatic to them, then they end up with low self esteem as if something is wrong with
them and it’s really not,” says Hayat Mousa, MD at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

The good news is, most of the time, childhood constipation can be treated with simple changes
in diet and behavior, and sometimes mild medication. Now that Kevin is back in his routine, his
mom checks in with him regularly, to make sure he stays that way.

Here are some tips for parents:

  1. Don’t be shy, talk with you children about bowel movements just
    like you discuss any other bodily function.

  2. Make sure your child is going at least every other day.

  3. If you find out your child hasn’t gone for three to four days, try prune or apple juice, high fiber cereal, or even a warm bath.

  4. Over the counter softeners or laxatives made for children can also help.

Don't be shy. Does anyone deal with this issue with their kids?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

Methodist Medical Center's new online healthcare program, MyMethodist eHealth, is a proud sponsor of this blog post. MyMethodist eHealth is the secure link to your doctor's office that lets you request appointments, order prescription refills, update your personal health record, and more. Sign up for MyMethodist eHealth here.


Emily/Randomability said...

We are dealing with this now. Ugh. As of this comment, it's been at least 4 days since my daughter (3) pooped. We are feeding her apples and apple juice and we're trying the warm bath tonight.

Any other ideas?

Rachel D said...

We deal with this with our daughter. We do have to keep an open line of communication or else she doesn't get into some potty problems.

Instead of having a daily conversation we have a potty chart where she gets a sticker for when she poops. She's three so this works for us for now.

We were going a week at a time with out pooping so I ended up having to call our ped. What worked for us is just taking some vasaline and rubbing it on her bottom. Just with a finger and (I know this sounds a bit icky) sticking a little just inside her anus.

Then we'd sit her on the potty and in a few minutes she'd go! Apparently it stimulated her enough to go...and we didn't have to do PediLax or oral medication.

We did this for a couple of days in a row and, becaue it wasn't addictive, don't have to continue it. Whenever we get in a bind (no pun intended) it's our cure of choice!

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