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Does Your Child Suffer from Constipation?

Posted Mar 23 2010 11:25am

Constipation is a very common problem among children. My oldest suffered from constipation and hard bowels for a number of years. I remember giving her Karo Syrup and suppositories in order to get her to have a BM. Dealing with her constipation was frustrating and stressful and often lead to an unnecessary battle.

How do I know if my child suffers from constipation?

A division of the National Institute of Health defines constipation as having a bowel movement fewer than three times a week. Children suffering from constipation either have very small hard stools or large ones that are difficult to pass.

Depending on your child's age he may or may not be able to tell you if he is constipated. She may be too young to speak or embarrassed or scared. Fortunately you can look for these common symptoms of constipation
  • Less than three bowel movements a week
  • hard stools that are difficult to pass
  • cramps, stomachaches or nausea
  • rectal bleeding (this could be a sign of a more serious condition consult your pediatrician)
  • urinary incontinence, frequent urination or bed-wetting (these symptoms could also be a sign of a more serious condition, consult your pediatrician if your child has these symptoms)
  • soiling (often confused with diarrhea)

What causes constipation in children? The most common reasons why your child may be suffering from constipation is she may have a poor diet, he may not be getting enough fiber or enough fluids.

If your child is sick she may also suffer from constipation or it may be a side effect of your child's medication.

Young children may also hold their bowels in especially if they have had difficulty or hard bowls in the past. Your child may also be afraid to have a BM in an unfamiliar place or public restroom. Traveling and stress not only affects adult regularity it can also do the same for your child.

What can you as a parent do if your child suffers from constipation? The first thing that you can do is make sure your child is getting enough fiber in her diet. Fiber is is a very important part of a healthy diet. Dietary fibers are the portion of plant foods that your body can not digest. These materials move through your digestive system absorbing water, helping you to move your bowels.

Fruits, vegetables, grains and beans are among high fiber foods. In order for a diet high in fiber to do its' job you must make sure you are drinking plenty of fluids. Most nutritionists recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. If your child is eating a diet high in fiber but is not drinking enough water this can also lead to constipation.

The American Academy of Pediatrics advises that parents use the following guidelines to determine the amount of fiber needed in a child's diet
Age/Gender Fiber (grams)
2-3 years 19
4-8 years 25
9-11 years (female) 26
9-11 years (male) 31

Below is a list of the fiber content found in common foods
Fruits Serving size Total fiber (grams)
Apple, with skin 1 medium 3.5
Apricots, dried 1 cup 10.5
Banana 1 medium 2.5
Blueberries 1 cup 3.9
Orange 1 medium 2.6
Peach, with skin 1 medium 2.1
Pear, with skin1 medium 4.6
Raisins 1 packet 2.2
Raspberries1 cup 6.3
Strawberries1 cup 3
Grains, cereal & pasta Serving size Total fiber (grams)
Cheerios®1 cup 3
Spaghetti, whole-wheat1 cup3
Bran muffin1 muffin 6.3
Oatmeal1 cup 5.3
Bread, Pumpernickel1 slice 1
Bread, whole-wheat1 slice 1.66
Bread, white1 slice.55
Brown rice, cooked1 cup2.4
Legumes & nuts Serving size Total fiber (grams)
Lentils, cooked½ cup1.9
Navy beans, cooked½ cup3.1
Lima beans, cooked½ cup 2.6
Baked beans, canned1 cup18.6
Almonds, slivered½ cup3.6
Peanuts 1 cup 11.7
Filberts½ cup 2.8
Vegetables Serving size Total fiber (grams)
Asparagus, cut 7 spears 1.5
Corn 1 cup 4.5
Turnip, cooked1 cup3.4
Potato, boiled w/skin1 medium 2.3
Spinach, chopped 1 cup 8
Spinach, raw 1 cup 4.1
Sweet potato, baked1 medium2.7
Tomato 1 medium1.8

If your child is a picky eater or you are unable to follow a high fiber diet you can supplement his diet with Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies for ages 2-11. The penguin-shaped, great tasting Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies are sugar-free, calorie-free, gluten-free and made with natural fruit flavors. This supplement is dentist approved and a great solution if your child is not getting the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended daily fiber intake.

Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies retail for about $7.99 for a bottle of 60 gummies and are available at Target and Walgreens. You can also purchase them online at and get a $1.00 coupon to use at your favorite store. Search their online store locator to find a retailer near you. You can also enter to win a bottle of Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies by leaving us a comment. Contest is open to US residents ages 18+.

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For every entry including extra entries please leave a separate comment. Winners will be chosen randomly from the comments and e mails that I receive. The contest ends on April 11 at midnight PST.

*Disclosure I received a bottle of Pedia-Lax Fiber Gummies in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% mine.

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