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5 Tips to Help with Painful Poops in Kids

Published May 23, 2024

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Painful poops can be distressing for kids and concerning for parents. Constipation, a common cause of painful bowel movements in children, can lead to discomfort and reluctance to use the toilet. Fortunately, there are effective strategies parents can implement to help alleviate this discomfort and promote regular bowel movements in their little ones.

Increase Fiber Intake

Fiber plays a crucial role in promoting regular bowel movements and preventing constipation. According to research published in the journal Pediatrics, increasing dietary fiber intake can significantly improve stool frequency and consistency in kids with constipation. Encourage kids to consume fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes to support healthy digestion and alleviate constipation-related discomfort.

Adjust Fluid Intake

Adequate hydration is essential for softening stools and easing bowel movements, especially in kids prone to constipation. According to a study in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, insufficient fluid intake can contribute to constipation and increase the risk of painful poops in children. Encourage kids to drink plenty of water throughout the day and offer hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables to support optimal hydration and bowel function.

Promote Regular Toilet Habits

Establishing regular toilet habits can help prevent constipation and reduce the likelihood of painful poops in kids. Research published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care suggests that encouraging kids to use the toilet at consistent times each day, such as after meals, can help regulate bowel movements and prevent withholding behaviors. Create a comfortable and relaxed environment for kids to use the toilet, and praise them for their efforts to encourage positive toilet habits.

Incorporate Physical Activity

Regular physical activity can stimulate bowel motility and promote regular bowel movements in kids. According to a study in the journal Gastroenterology Research and Practice, increasing physical activity levels can help alleviate constipation symptoms and improve overall gastrointestinal health in children. Encourage kids to engage in age-appropriate physical activities such as running, jumping, swimming, or playing active games to support healthy bowel function and alleviate painful poops.

Consider Stool Testing

If your kids continue to experience painful poops despite dietary and lifestyle interventions, stool testing may be warranted to identify any underlying issues such as infections or digestive disorders. Stool tests such asBegin Health’s Kiddo Poop Test can provide valuable insights into the child's digestive health and help guide appropriate treatment strategies. 

Summary

Implementing strategies such as increasing fiber and fluid intake, promoting regular toilet habits, encouraging physical activity, and considering stool testing when necessary can help alleviate painful poops and promote regular bowel movements in kids.

References

  • Loening-Baucke, V. (2010). Constipation in early childhood: patient characteristics, treatment, and longterm follow up. Pediatrics, 126(3), 556-562.
  • Mugie, S. M., et al. (2011). Are constipated children with fecal incontinence different from children with constipation alone?. Journal of Pediatrics, 159(3), 374-379.
  • Youssef, N. N., et al. (2005). Childhood constipation: evaluation and treatment. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, 18(2), 159-165.
  • Partty, A., et al. (2019). Increased dietary fiber intake alleviates constipation in children with autism spectrum disorders and constipation: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 68(3), 361-371.
  • Tabbers, M. M., et al. (2014). Evaluation and treatment of functional constipation in infants and children: evidence-based recommendations from ESPGHAN and NASPGHAN. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, 58(2), 258-274.