Toddlers frequently try out a variety of new foods, which can contribute to constipation, bloating and gassiness. In addition, a toddler is beginning to learn how to control his own bowels. Digestive problems can be uncomfortable and troubling, making both meal times and bathroom time difficult for both toddler and parent.
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Definition and Signs
Toddler constipation, bloating and excessive flatulence can vary from mild to severe. It can last anywhere from one day to more than a week. Your toddler’s stools will be very dark in color, hard and difficult for her to pass. You may notice liquid stool in her underwear or diaper, which can occur if liquid stool passes the blockage in the low intestine. Your toddler can be extremely irritable, cry, pull her legs up toward her tummy and have a distended stomach.
Flatulence, constipation and bloating can develop if your toddler eats a large amount of fatty or high-fiber foods such as whole-grain cereal or French fries. Some vegetables, such as cauliflower and broccoli can trigger gas and gastrointestinal distress. Dehydration can make it difficult to pass stool and trigger bloating and gas. Your child can also experience constipation if he feels anxious about potty training and holds in his bowel movements. In addition, symptoms can occur if your child is not active, which can prevent blood from flowing properly through your child’s digestive system.
Give your toddler more fluid such as water, apple juice or prune juice to help soften her stool and keep her hydrated. Walk with your toddler or encourage her to exercise to increase the blood flow to her organs and digestive system. Massage her stomach by placing your fingers below her belly button and pressing until you feel hardness. Hold the pressure for up to three minutes, moving your fingers in a circular motion if desired.
Do not ignore constipation or excessive flatulence or bloating in your toddler. These symptoms can sometimes be the sign of a more serious condition such as irritable bowel syndrome which will require a doctor’s treatment. If your toddler develops tears or anal fissures as the result of hard stool, apply aloe vera to the injury to encourage healing. Talk to your child’s pediatrician if the tears worsen or are chronic.