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Over the years of being a gut health product owner, I cannot count the times that I have been on the phone
with a concerned parent of a severely constipated child. It is just horrible to see a child suffer with the pain
associated with constipation and impaction and my husband and I are regularly brought to tears listening to these
These days, children as young as 3 are commonly prescribed strong laxatives to treat constipation, when water,
exercise and increased fibre would most likely do the trick for most cases. Kids are presenting in emergency rooms
in excruciating pain from not having moved their bowels in weeks, only to be prescribed strong pharmaceutical
laxatives and sent home. Doing nothing for the cause of the problem.
We have moved from a society where kids play outside almost all day to now, where kids come home from
school to sit in front of a screen not moving until dinner, then more screen and bed. Weekends consist
of more screen time plus a high carb/fat/sugar and low fibre diet. Worst of all, so many don’t drink any water.
Laxative dependency at 5 years old is not ok! And I hear of this all the time! Intermittent laxative
use is fine to clear a blockage or to relieve pain. But prolonged laxatives slacken the bowel wall
over time, to the point where the peristalsis (the muscular movement of the bowel) becomes impaired.
Fibre, on the other hand, works to strengthen the peristalsis. High fibre foods such as fresh fruit
and vegetables and whole-grains support healthy digestion, but without adequate hydration even these
foods can bind us up. When we eat fibrous foods and we are properly hydrated, the fibre swells in the
digestive tract forming a large fluffy mass which puts pressure on the bowel wall and stimulates the
peristalsis – exercising and strengthening the bowel.
1. Make sure your child has a water bottle that is accessible to them at all times.
If it is there in front of them, they will be much more likely to drink more often.
As a guide, children 4-8 years should be drinking at least 1.2 litres per day. 9-13 year
olds should have at least 1.6 litres per day.This amount should increase on a hot or
particularly active day.
If your child is 4 or under, I recommend lots of water tea parties and drink bottles at eye
height in several rooms of the house. They can drink at their leisure.
2. Get them moving! Kids are suppose to be highly active. Jumping on a trampoline or swinging is great
for moving the digestion but even just playing in the backyard instead of sitting inside will help.
3. Your child will not starve to death with healthy food in front of them. Yes! Kids can be fussy to no end!
I get it. I have two of them. And I know it can be painful to change food habits, but rest assure,
they will eventually become hungry enough to eat that broccoli on their plate. Once good food habits have
been established – life is really wonderful! I highly recommend the Happy Happy Poo Book
by Jacqui Kirkland if you are struggling in this department.
4. Use a Toilet Stool to prop your child’s feet up. Western toilets are designed all wrong. The squat position
is our natural pooping posture. This can be established easily by propping the feet up on a stool at the
base of the toilet. Go to www.theproppr.com for my favourite pooping stools.
So many digestive issues can be resolved fairly easily, but having said this, there is a large number
of cases where parents are doing all the right things diet, water and exercise wise and their child is
still suffering. There are many reasons why this could be happening. Food intolerances or allergies,
anxiety around toilet time, bacterial imbalances and many health conditions impact digestion,
including many of the spectrum and behavioral disorders.
In these cases, I very highly recommend Motion Potion. It is gentle, soothing, and can be mixed with
baby food, yoghurt, juice or even smoothies to make it yummy. Whilst taking Motion Potion kids report
having a very clear message when it’s time to go to the toilet as the fibre in Motion Potion helps to
add bulk to the stool and makes the sensation of “needing to go” more obvious. Children also report faster
more efficient pooping, needing much less time on the toilet. Two very big pluses for kids.
Almost every week I get a phone call or email from an elated parent of a child that is finally
pooping normally. Motion Potion can help get things moving whilst treating the other issues.
These days food intolerance testing is easy and relatively cheap. A reaction can show up as tummy pain,
diarrhea, nausea, and other digestive symptoms, but may also show up as a rash, post-nasal drip, throat
clearing, headache, tiredness, or in many other seemingly unrelated ways. If you notice a reoccurring
symptom after eating a particular food, I recommend getting them tested. Common intolerances include:
gluten/wheat, dairy, egg, nuts and seeds, soy, shellfish and artificial food additives.
If your child suffers from anxiety around toileting you might need to get creative with a game or a
sticker chart. The good thing is, poo is funny to kids (and most grown-ups) and it’s not too hard to make
them laugh about pooping. Keep it light and don’t lay on the pressure and things will improve.
If you have a young child dependent on laxatives, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can support you
in slowly removing the dependency and working towards better digestion for your child.