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Child passing stools infrequently, solid and large stools, painful. What to do?

Hi Doctor, My 8 month old baby is passing stools once in evry 3-4 days. The stools are very solid and large in size and hence stool passing is a painfull experience for the baby. He cries a lot and it takes upto an hour or two to complete the process. The size of the stools and they being hardened in 3-4 days causes excruciating pain for the baby. Kindly suggest what to do ?
Asked On : Sat, 10 Nov 2012
Answers:  1 Views:  51
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Pediatrician, Neonatology 's  Response
Constipation in child is a very common problem. Please do the following -

1. Make sure your child drinks sufficient water/soup/juice. Dehydration is the reason behind constipation in many cases. He should drink 2-3 small glass of water every day.

2. Check his diet. Give him fiber rich foods (whole / shredded wheat, unpeeled vegetables, green leafy vegetables, grains, unrefined cereals) more. Remove / limit low fiber foods ( refined cereals, white bread, banana, meat, dairy products).

3. Make a regular bowel habit of your child. Let him spend more time in defecation. Children often retain Stool as get hardened and become difficult and painful to pass. Moisture is absorbed from retained stool and it become harder. So the vicious cycle goes on. Daily bowel clearance helps in breaking the cycle.

4. Remember, milk contains no dietary fiber. Giving your child more milk / milk products can cause constipation.

5. Hold his legs and make cycling like movement when he is lying on back. Slowly massage his abdomen clockwise. These may relieve constipation.

If constipation is not controlled by above managements, visit your pediatrician. Your child may need medicines to relieve severe constipation. However, don't get your child dependent on purgative medicines. Most often, constipation is controlled by general measures (as I mentioned above).

Post if you have more queries.
Answered: Sat, 10 Nov 2012
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