Too many kids are having to be treated for chronic constipation. Gastroenterologists at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center report a 30% rise in these cases from 2008-2009, leading the center to open a new clinic to provide medical and behavioral therapy for children with the condition.
Constipation in children can be from poor diet and lack of activity, but the most likely cause, particularly as it relates to the current increases, is drinking too little water. As I have pointed out previously in this blog, proper water intake is important for a multitude of metabolic processes, one being digestion and elimination. Remember, the human body is highly intelligent; provide it with insufficient material and it will shunt what it needs, taking from one area to give to another. Take in too little water and watch your body steal from your colon to give to other, more vital, regions.
Why are children not drinking enough water? Gotta ask the parents. But one thing I know for sure, being one of the most soda-consuming nations, the U.S. has plenty of children who get their fluids from liquid sugar. Oh well. Gotta wise up, folks; there’s always a price to pay. Drink soda, your kid will drink soda. Your kid drinks soda, he or she will probably bypass drinking water. Bypass drinking water, say hello to constipation. Cause, effect. Your choice.
Signs of constipation in children is very often missed by parents, and it can lead to a severe or chronic case. Things to look for are abdominal bloating and a feeling of fullness; straining with bowel movements; lumpy or hard stools and/or small pellet-like stools, accompanied by a feeling of incomplete emptying of the bowels. Children with serious constipation may also refuse to go to the toilet for fear it will hurt; they may hide to go in a private place, or experience underwear soiling and bedwetting. Knowing these signs can help you figure out if your child is suffering.
Finally, make sure your kid is drinking plenty of water. Dump the soda (for yourself, too) and make water your drink of choice. Or deal with chronic constipation if that’s what you’d prefer.