Anyone who has had a child who has had it knows how worriesome it can be. You know your child hasn’t had a bowel movement in a week, you can see the grimaces and discomfort, and you sit and wait feeling helpless about the situation. Childhood constipation is a serious, and sometimes chronic, problem that comes from a variety of causes. It is diagnosed when a child has fewer than three bowel movements per week, or shows regular difficulty in evacuating bowels. Some readers may be saying at this point, “Three per week? My child will sometimes go for two to three weeks with the problem.” In some children, constipation is a regular occurence and can lead to cycles that end when children have an unexpected or embarassing toileting accident. Medical problems or birth differences such as Spina Bifida can be associated with the problem. In all instances, a phone call to a pediatrician or family doctor is important to make sure that simple constipation is the real problem. In this post we look at constipation that doesn’t have a known medical cause.
Of course, parents have struggled with their kids’ unproductive bowels throughout history although it hasn’t been until recently that we have focused on the causes of constipation and not just the remedies. In the 1800′s, when not only constipation but other nastier conditions such as ringworm were a common part of childhood, newspaper ads promoted a basketful of cures including various health oils and potions, and in one tragic instance, mercury, which is highly toxic to children.
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