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Functional Constipation in Children – Dr. Meghna Phadke

Frequent tummy aches is the most common problem among children that parents face these days. Dr. Meghna Phadke said “functional constipation is most common cause of abdominal pain in preschool and school going children. Prevalence is rising due to faulty food habit, inadequate toilet training and early school going age”

Constipation – is it just the hard stool? No……if any of the following is happening for >1 month, please consult your pediatrician.

  • 2 or less motions/week
  • At least one episode of stool soiling (leaking) per week.
  • Painful hard motions.
  • Large stools obstructing toilet.
  • And general symptoms of irritability, decreased appetite or early satiety.
  • If your child has any of the above symptoms, please consult your pediatrician.

What problems can it lead to if not sorted?

In toddlers they lose achieved skills of toilet training.

  • Always gassy
  • Kids are eating less.
  • Nausea in the morning before school.
  • Refuse to eat or have pain after eating
  • No fixed routine for “toilet call” or “toilet call “at odd times.
  • Faulty growth
  • Sudden stool soiling (leaking)
  • Poor school performance and low attendance.

Overall, timely visit will give good treatment options, but, we can prevent functional constipation by reviewing certain habits in house.

  • Make a “sit on the pot” routine once child starts communicating.
  • Avoid giving only fruit pulp or juice as it excludes fiber, so give more of whole fruit rather just a juice or pulp.
  • Big No for daily canned juices
  • Big No for maida (refined flour) over use & bakery products.
  • Vegetables are not just potatoes and lady finger. Always include kids favourite and not so favourite food items in plate, also don’t forget to make space for green leafy vegetables.
  • Check water intake and if school water bottles are empty or not.
  • Include some portion of whole dal and sprouts and millets (Bajra/Ragi) in recipes.
  • Deworm after every 6 months.

So identify, seek pediatrician’s help and use preventive measures to cut down those unwanted tummy aches.

Dr. Megha Phadke
Consultant – Pediatrics & Neonatology
Metro Hospital Faridabad

Metro Hospital
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