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Home >  Information A-ZAll Kids Information Articles Constipation and Diarrhea

Constipation and Diarrhea:

One of the most common illnesses in children is bowel problems. There may not always be a greater illness causing the issues, it could just be something the child has been eating that is affecting them a certain way. When your child has diarrhea or constipation, but no other symptoms of illness, you can do many natural things to help them get better.

• Constipation—
There are many natural things you can do to help your child's constipation, such as change their diet. Changing up (increasing or decreasing) their intake of the following can help with constipation:

Increase the following in your child's diet:
• Apple juice
• Milk
• Fiber
• Bananas
• Cranberry juice
• Water

Decrease or temporarily eliminate the following:
• Cheese
• Milk (if you increased your child's milk intake and it didn't help, you may want to decrease it or try switching to a soy milk)

If your child is constipated, you can help relieve the stomach pain by rubbing their stomach. If they are old enough, you can give them some sort of laxative for it, and if you are unsure what kind your child can take, check with your doctor.

• Diarrhea—
If your child has diarrhea, there are many things you can do to help them get better more quickly, and just as with constipation, you need to change their diet up (opposite what you would for constipation) so that they will be back to normal more quickly. Making the following changes in your child's diet can help:

Increase your child's intake of the following:
• Cheese
• Water
• Vitamins
• Milk (milk is hard to tell about, so you will want to try increasing and decreasing it to see which one works for your child)

Decrease the following:
• Milk
• Bananas
• Cranberry Juice
• Fiber

There is one major difference in what you will need to increase with diarrhea that you didn't have to worry about so much with constipation, and that is the increase of vitamins. This is because diarrhea drains the body of its nutrients, and you will need to replenish those. There is also the possibility of dehydration, and to avoid this you will not only want to increase your child's intake of water, you will also want to add pedialite to their diet. It helps put the nourishment your child's body needs back in it, and it can help prevent them from becoming dehydrated.

Whether your child has constipation or diarrhea, you will want to call your doctor if it lasts more than a couple of days. Watch for any other symptoms of illnesses, such as fever, so that you know as much as possible when you call them. You can give your child medication to help it along, but only give it to them if it lists their age and weight, and how much to give them, or if your doctor tells you to, and you should always follow dosing directions. One medication that is not recommended for children is Pepto Bismal. While this is one of the best medications available for stomach problems, it has a drug in it that has similarities of aspirin, and it is not recommended that children be given aspirin, so you will want to avoid this medication unless your doctor explicitly tells you to give it to them.

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