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Constipation in children – 8 tips to prevent it

Constipation in children – 8 tips to prevent it

According to the Brazilian Society of Pediatrics, for it to be considered “constipation” in children around the age of four, at least two of the six following criteria must be met for two consecutive months:

  • Less than 3 defecations per week;
  • At least one episode of fecal incontinence per week;
  • Retentive postures or attitudes to avoid defecation;
  • Painful defecation;
  • Large diameter feces in the rectum or palpable in the abdomen;
  • Excessively large defecations.


Constipation is very common in childhood and can occur due to several factors: a diet poor in fiber, fear of having a bowel movement due to pain with an anal fissure, insufficient fluid intake and little physical activity. A child who is constipated poops less than usual, especially if they have not had bowel movement for four days and have difficulty eliminating the feces. However, there are other symptoms such as hard, dry excrement that makes the butt hurt, or even liquid feces that only stain the diaper or underwear. “It may be that the solid part of the feces is trapped inside the intestines, and only the liquids can come out. You have to be careful not to confuse this with diarrhea,” warns pediatrician Loretta Campos from the University of Sao Paulo.


Knowing how to identify constipation is important to correct the problem as soon as possible. Dr. Campos has eight important tips that can help little ones:

  1. Avoid foods that constrict the intestines: rice, bananas, apples and cereals. It is healthy to drink milk;
  2. Increase fiber consumption by having whole-grain bread and crackers, papaya, black plums, beans and broccoli;
  3. Give the child lots of liquids – preferably water;
  4. Encourage your child to run and play a lot;

      5 . Don't force your children to give up diapers if they’re not ready yet;

      6 . Encourage your child to go to the bathroom when he feels like it. If he never feels like it, make him spend ten minutes on the potty or toilet after breakfast and dinner;

  1. Talk to your pediatrician. He may suggest a laxative, natural lubricant, soluble fiber or suppository;
  2. If your child's stool contains blood, your pediatrician may be able to recommend treatment to combat the anal fissure.



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