In this video, former Westwood-Mansfield Pediatrics Nurse Practitioner Meghan Aldrich discusses childhood constipation. Key points include:
1) Constipation is defined as stools that are difficult or painful to pass (and not by how frequent they are). It is possible to have daily, soft bowel movements yet still be constipated if the child is not passing enough of the stool inside.
2) Causes of constipation include diet (not consuming enough fruits, fiber and fluid), behavior (not taking enough time to fully empty the bowels, withholding stools, or not using the bathrooms in schools or public places), and genetics (constipation often runs in families).
3) Treatment of constipation can be dietary (increasing fruits, fiber and fluid), behavioral (encouraging kids to sit on the toilet for 10 minutes after meals or when they get home from school), or medical (MiraLAX, Ex-lax).
4) For most pediatric patients, Miralax is the ideal medical treatment as it is safe, without side effects and very well tolerated by kids.
5) Red flags that are concerning include a child who is doubled over in pain, vomiting, passing bloody stools, waking at night, having pain in the lower right side of the abdomen or refusing to eat.