7 Natural Ways to Treat Constipation in Kids

constipationWow, there are a lot of constipated kids out there. In a recent study, researchers found that having backed up bowels is the most common emergency room diagnosis for kids.

They found that 25 percent of kids who are diagnosed with anything when visiting the ER are diagnosed with plain old constipation. Talk about feeling like a crappy parent when the doctor gives you that news (sorry). But really, it's got to be a shock to find out that something you thought was serious enough to warrant an ER visit was something so basic. 

There's good news though. Constipation rarely warrants any kind of major medical treatment, and you can often treat and prevent constipation on your own with very simple methods. Here are seven natural ways to treat and prevent constipation in kids.

1. Fiber

Even a couple of days with too much macaroni and cheese and too few fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains, can cause problems. Try to work in at least one source of fiber in every meal and limit fiber-free foods like cheese and processed meat. It never hurts to add in a few prunes to their diet either.

2. Hydration

Busy kids don't often stop to drink all of the fluids they need to keep things running regularly. Whether you have to buy fun cups, give them reminders, or employ other tactics, just get them drinking. Fruit juices, like apple, pear, and prune, are good choices in addition to water.

3. Give Them Toilet Time

The Mayo Clinic suggests encouraging children to sit on the toilet for 5-10 minutes within 30 minutes of each meal, every day.

4. Exercise

Getting kids moving physically is often key to getting the bowels moving themselves.

More from The Stir: 5 Tips for Helping Your Kids Deal With Pain From Injuries

5. Acupuncture or Acupressure

Some success has been reported using these methods when others don't work. Also just gentle massages of the stomach by mom or dad may help.

6. Probiotics

While there's been some debate as to their effectiveness, some swear by these products that contain "good" bacteria to treat constipation.

7. Warm Baths

These may help relax muscles need to pass the stool.

As for any types of laxatives or other products, consult with your doctor first.

What effective ways have you found to treat constipation in your children?


Image via Abulic Monkey/Flickr 

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BlueJane BlueJane

Fully agree with warm baths. That and only positive encouragement. It's what got us through dd's trouble.

Sonia... SoniaComments

Whenever my kids complained about tummy aches as children the first thing I asked them when was the last time they had a bowel movement. As babies I kept a close eye on this as my oldest suffered from constipation quite badly as a toddler. Both warm baths and drinking juice in stead of milk brought him round I'm happy to say.best remedy for constipation

keelh... keelhaulrose

We had a big problem with that, and started giving our little girl a little bit of prime juice every day. The only "problem" with that is we're in for a very messy day if we skip a few.

nymom13 nymom13

Apple or prune juice should be added to this list. I agree with warm baths.

LeeshaE LeeshaE

Pomegranate juice works wonders,natural metabolism boosters like niacin, or hot Epsom salt bath

nonmember avatar Kate

We give our son oatmeal with a little bit of ground flax seed meal- works like a charm! Just make sure that your little one is drinking enough fluids because taking fiber without enough water will just make the situation worse!

cooki... cookinmommyof1

I add metamucil to baked goods. Gives everyone added fiber

April Shay-Radant

As a kid if we had anything wrong my mom would make us eat that awful tasting chocolate ex-LAX. Nothing worse than those things. Yuck. We didn't get "sick" though like other kids did. She said all illnesses start in your gut, I believe that to be true as well.

nonmember avatar Krystal

1 tsp of flax seed meal everyday to keep things regular has worked for us! Doctor wanted to put her on ex-lax and I didn't want to, so we opted for the more natural route and luckily it's worked :)

nonmember avatar April C

Pear juice is good too. We also had to go the miralx route though as prescribed by our Dr. Helped keep stools softer and get him over his fear of passing painful stools. Making sure he had water or juice first thing in the morning was crucial too.

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