The New Epidemic of Chronic Constipation and Diarrhea In Children
Does your child suffer from chronic constipation or diarrhea? This is a problem that has many families concerned. Consistent elimination is very important to good health and when your child isn’t eliminating properly, it can affect mood, sleep, even learning. Most health practitioners use the Bristol Stool Chart (shown below) as a guide to gauge healthy bowel movements in adults and children.
Being “regular” means having a well-formed, healthy bowel moment every day. Less than that can be considered constipation, and having a bowel movement just a few times a week is acute constipation. Going three or more times a day can be considered diarrhea. Loose and watery stools are considered diarrhea, which, left untreated, can cause dehydration. When either condition occurs for more than a few days, it’s very important to rule out a virus, bacterial infection or fungus. If you’re certain there is not an underlying medical condition causing digestive issues, here are some natural solutions to try.
Food or Chemical Culprits Digestive distress is often caused by food, drugs or chemical sensitivities. Keep a journal of all the food, drinks, and medications and look for correlations between certain foods and symptoms. Be sure that your child is drinking the right amount of water. Pay attention to all medications being taken and carefully check for side effects. Strong cleaning chemicals, highly scented soap or detergents and even household candles and air freshness can cause a buildup of toxins in the body. Temporarily eliminate any food or toxin that may be causing problems. Once symptoms have subsided, slowly re-introduce items one at a time, while keeping track of symptoms in your journal. Note: some symptoms/reactions can take as long as 5 days to appear, so re-introduce slowly and track carefully.
Hectic Lifestyle Being “too busy” and not having time to use the bathroom is a common cause of constipation in children, and it’s no wonder. They are often rushed from the time they wake up in the morning, have little time between classes at school, and after school activities have many families rushing through meals and even eating in the car. This is not optimal for anyone. Review your schedule and look for ways that you can eliminate having to rush.
Emotional Stress Worry, fear and nervousness cause chemical changes in the body that increase alkaline levels, which leads to diarrhea. Many people find themselves in a repetitive worry pattern keeping them in the bathroom for hours. These patterns begin in childhood. Be sure that your child has a safe place to talk about what is worrying them. Teach them practical habits like meditation, deep breathing, physical exercise and positive self talk to help process fears and worries. Get more help here.
Nutritional Deficiencies There are many many supplements, herbs and over the counter drugs available to treat nutritional deficiencies that cause digestive distress. Depending on the results of body chemistry testing, I often recommend a good quality probiotic, digestive enzyme, magnesium, ginger, aloe vera, licorice root, dandelion, or activated charcoal. Supplements and herbs vary in price and quality. Body chemistry testing will help you determine which supplement, if any, is needed. Our on-site blood, urine or saliva tests offer an accurate picture of deficiencies and ultimately save wasted time and money on unnecessary supplements.
If you’re certain that your child’s diarrhea or constipation is not a viral or bacterial infection, visiting a traditional naturopath can help you discover the root cause.
At Divine Health Naturally, we work with entire families including infants. Visits include:
Food sensitivities evaluation
Full body organ and gland assessment and balancing
Comprehensive biofeedback scan
11 Parameter Urinalysis testing
Optional on-site blood work with immediate results
Tracie Yautz is both a trained naturopath and medical intuitive who works with infants, children, adults and pets. She sees clients in Pittsburgh and Harmony, Pennsylvania in the North East United States. Schedule an appointment by calling: 724.355.9049.