Constipation: let’s just say the word… CONSTIPATION.
Constipation is uncomfortable and sometimes very painful. But there is more to it than just having a hard time passing stool. And no one learns more about bowel movements than a new parent. From the birth of their first child, parents are told what colour to look for, the frequency, the shape and even the consistency. We learn that poop of breastfed babies is different from poop of formula-fed babies, and that starting solid foods or even the foods a breastfeeding mom eats can affect our little ones.
The only issue with when most people learn about poop and all its glory is after they have had kids, little seems to be told to adults. And since many people are too embarrassed to discuss constipation with their doctor, issues can go on for a long time or people just brush off problems as normal. When they are far from it. I know a few parents that came to the realization after they had children that they themselves had lifelong digestive issues causing constipation and or excess diarrhea.
Constipation is defined as a condition in which you have fewer than three bowel movements in a week, and your stools are hard, dry and small, making them difficult and painful to pass.
Causes of Constipation
Common causes of constipation are:
- Not being able to go when you need to. Both kids and adults can be affected by this. Kids often hold it in because they want to wait until they are home and more comfortable, or they have a fear of missing out on all the fun when they have to go.
- Not eating enough soluble and insoluble fibre.
- Not enough water! Water is the most underrated food/beverage. Think about it, Gandhi survived on just water for 21 days. Water prevents dehydration and helps move food through our digestive system like our own lubrication system.
- Certain conditions like IBS, Crohn’s, diverticulosis and colitis can cause a variety of digestive issues including constipation.
There are some simple changes we can make to prevent and treat constipation in people of all ages, so let’s start those now!
Mom Tip: What can I do when I or my child is in a lot of pain from constipation?
Answer: a warm bath. This helps calm the affected area and you may even get the urge to go which is great.
How to Prevent Constipation
So, what can we do to prevent constipation?
Diet is the number one thing we can modify to help with constipation. We need to increase the fibre content in the foods we are eating and drink more water. Remember the word DIET is just the total of food consumed by a person.
Add these foods and fluids to your daily diet.
Exercise, even just walking 10 minutes a day helps to keep your digestive system working. You can put some music on with your kids and dance your way to a better gut!
Take Soluble Fibre
Add soluble fibre to your daily routine. We love Regular Girl, a hydrolyzed guar gum prebiotic fibre and a probiotic blend, that mixes into water and has NO flavour. You can add it into your water bottle at the beginning of the day and forget about it.
Most importantly, keep the conversation going and talk about these things with your kids and family. We shouldn’t be suffering in silence and you may discover you have something more serious than occasional constipation and need to discuss further with your healthcare provider.
Dr. Sears has some great resources that work for the entire family, download his Poo book for more great information: