Constipation in School Going Children

Dr. Nelli Gluzman, a holistic pediatrician, will tell us more about causes, symptoms, prevention, and treatment for constipation in school going children.

Causes of constipation in school going children (0:28)
In September in New York, many kids are starting school for the first time and other kids are going back to school after a pretty fun summer. And so, in the school environment, in the new environment, many kids choose not to listen to their body’s urge to go to the bathroom but rather continue to play. Some kids are new to a school environment and the new bathrooms and new restrooms are really frightening to them so they choose not to go. Sometimes there’s a big change to the amount of water that kids drink or the kinds of foods they eat and all of these factors come together and sometimes create constipation.

Symptoms of constipation in school going children (1:11)
Abdominal pain is the primary symptom but straining to go or having small pebble stools or other symptoms.

How to prevent constipation in school going children (1:28)
So what can we do to prevent constipation in children, especially the kids that are starting school for the first time? The number one thing I would say is the most helpful thing is to have a conversation with the kids before they go back to school before they start school for the first time before they’re in their new environment and talk to them about listening to their bodies and going when they need to go.
It’s often very helpful to alert the teachers or the caregivers in the school environment about making sure that the teachers are listening to their cues as well. And of course, in any patient population, older kids and even adults, choosing to drink plenty of liquids will always help prevent constipation. Having more fiber in the diet in the form of fruits, vegetables, whole grains help prevent constipation as well. Avoiding sugary foods and processed foods helps tremendously as well. Making sure kids get enough exercise because movement promotes bowel movements. Sometimes it helps to develop a very very regular meal schedule, and sometimes it helps to sit small kids down on a toilet every single day at a certain time. And so, these are my favorite tips for preventing constipation and hopefully, September won’t be constipation awareness month any longer.

Thanks for listening.