Nutrition Tips for Acute Constipation

Acute constipation is a common problem for children and adults alike.  The causes can vary from excess cow milk consumption or dehydration to more involved issues like gut dysbiosis (an imbalance in bacteria and/or yeast in the digestive tract) or stress.  Ideally, we think that children should have at least one soft bowel movement per day.  If your child is experiencing acute constipation, small modifications to his/her diet can be extremely helpful.

A few quick tips to remember:

1.       Avoid constipating foods.  Refrain from consuming dairy products, bananas, cooked carrots or foods that are low in fiber.

2.       Track fiber intake.  A good rule of thumb is to take the child’s age & add 5-6 grams to the figure to calculate daily fiber goals (if a child is 6, you want 11-12 grams of fiber per day).

3.       Increase fluid intake.  In addition to adequate water consumption (6-8 glasses per day), small quantities of certain juices – prune or pear juice – can sometimes be helpful in alleviating symptoms of constipation.

4.       Add physical activity.  Make sure your child has enough active play or exercise time.  You can also try abdominal massage (in a clockwise rotation) to help stimulate the colon.

Lisa’s Poop Goop Recipe:

1 c bran

1 c apple sauce

1 c prune juice

Mix ingredients together.  Serve 2 tbs daily, followed by 6oz of water.

Kaia’s Prune Coconut Bars:

2 c pitted prunes [chopped]

1 c whole wheat flour

1 tb grated orange rind

1/3 c wheat germ

1/2 c water

1/2 c coconut, flaked or shredded

1 c rolled oats

1/2 c vegetable oil

Cook the prunes, orange rind, and water in a saucepan until the mixture is soft and smooth.  Blend the oats, flour, wheat germ, coconut and oil together.  Press half the mixture in the bottom of an 8 x8 inch square baking pan. Pour the prune mixture on top and spread evenly. Top with the remaining oat mixture and press evenly over the top.

Bake in an oven preheated to 350oF for 30 minutes or until the topping is lightly browned. Cool in the pan before cutting into bars.

Kathi Keville’s Constipation Tea – (from Herbs for Health and Healing)

1 c boiling water
1/2 tsp licorice root
1/4 tsp ginger root (or fennel seeds)
1/4 c apple juice (optional)
1/4 c prune juice (optional)

Steep first 3 ingredients; strain; add juices.  For a 50 lb child, 1/4 cup is recommended every 2 hours until a change for the better becomes apparent.

If your child’s constipation persists, be sure to call our office for an appointment: 415.826.1701.