Most teens would probably rather scrub the toilet than talk about their bathroom business. But, according to the TeensHealth website, constipation can occur in teens if they have less than three bowel movements per week. The stool becomes hard, dry and difficult to pass through the digestive system. Constipation is typically caused by simple, easy-to-correct factors. But if it accompanies other unusual symptoms, consult your teen’s physician as it could indicate a serious problem.
A Teen's Diet
When left to their own devices, typical teenagers probably wouldn’t pick a plate full of fruits, veggies and whole grains at mealtime. And when it comes to constipation, these fiber-filled foods are probably exactly what a teen’s diet is missing. Fiber makes stool bulky and easier to pass through the intestines. Processed and fatty foods, on the other hand, can cause constipation because fats slow digestion. When teens are fighting constipation, just remember that healthy foods keep the intestines happy, while unhealthy foods make them sluggish.
Water: Drink up
Plain water isn’t usually the first pick for teens, especially when soda, juice and other sweetened beverages tempt their taste buds. But the truth is, along with fiber, proper hydration is key for preventing constipation. Drinking plenty of water makes stool softer and helps it slide through your internal plumbing. Teens should keep a bottle of water with them throughout the day. The flavor of plain water can be jazzed up with sliced lemons, limes, strawberries, raspberries or cucumbers.
Certain medications can cause constipation. These medications include iron supplements, strong pain relievers, antacids, antihistamines and antidepressants. If your teen is taking any of these medications, talk to your doctor about ways to prevent constipation. While a healthy diet and staying hydrated should help the problem, an additional fiber supplement may be necessary to keep the process started.
Passing the Potty
Ignoring the body’s natural urge to have a bowel movement can make it more difficult to initiate the movement later. Although it may not always be possible to take a bathroom break when the urge strikes, doing so as often as possible can help prevent constipation. If your teen doesn’t like using the restroom at school or work, he can try to train his digestive system to a different schedule. Waking up early enough to eat a healthy breakfast and spend some time in the bathroom for several days in a row can help the body adjust to this new routine.