Constipation, it is adiaria, delayed stool, discolium, caprostasis, difficult bowel movement – this is not a universal condition with unambiguous characteristics. Each person, including the child, has its own indicators of the norm and deviations from it related to age, intestinal microflora, diet, state of mind and hormonal background, and concomitant diseases.
And yet there are a few common points of reference.
Experts diagnose constipation if the crumb does “big” things:
- regularly and without problems, but it releases dry and hard feces;
- with difficulty – the child has to strain, the stool does not come out on the first attempt;
- less than 5 times per day.
For reference. In the first six months of life, constipation is a rather rare phenomenon, rather, on the contrary, in the period from 0 to 6 months, 6–10 bowel movements per day are considered normal.
In breastfed babies, defecation occurs more frequently, and in artificial women, less frequently.
Usually, parents of babies in the first months of life are alarmed by the state opposite to constipation, – too frequent a bowel movement. But in an infant, regardless of whether it feeds on breast milk or a mixture, the intestine should work that way – in a regimen that is considered diarrhea for older children and adults.
There should be no other option, at least, before the introduction of complementary foods in 4–6 months. After all, the crumb receives mostly liquid food, the waste of which has the same consistency and leaves the intestines, not encountering any obstacles on the way, – the baby has not yet learned to control the sphincter, which inhibits the excretion of feces.
The intestine of the baby has just begun to “get acquainted” with the microorganisms that come from the mother’s milk, from her skin (the baby is licking her nipple), from the environment. Far from all are the new “partners”: there are rejected, not taken root, and so on.
Check and rejection are accompanied by a liquid unstable chair.
For reference. Too frequent bowel cleansing does not need correction and treatment if the child is gaining weight and is developing properly. Normal appetite and sleep, gas, lack of fever and other signs of illness indicate that parents have nothing to worry about.
If the mother of a baby, tired of changing diapers 10 times in one day, wants to change the situation and asks the doctor to prescribe a crumbler, then, unwittingly, will doom her baby to chronic constipation.
Still, in the first 6 months, constipation in babies is not excluded. Can cause it:
- microflora transmitted from the mother;
- insufficient fluid volume;
Suppose a woman in the stomach and intestines too many bacteria that produce methane, which provoke constipation. They grow quite slowly, ferment, emitting carbon dioxide, which promotes flatulence and bloating. With this deviation, the woman also lives, has adapted and learned to solve the problem with the intestines in one way or another.
Noticing the same thing in a child, she decides that the baby inherits its features and “saves” him by the same means, making a mistake. Babies should not be given laxatives, especially those that contain senna.
The body of the baby too quickly gets used to such drugs and without them can no longer clean the intestines.
Constipation in a baby up to 6 months also provoke a lack of fluid and hormonal changes. At 6 months, the baby should get a lot of moisture – about 140 ml per day for one kilogram of weight.
A breastfed baby picks up this rate at the expense of mother’s milk and does not need additional sources of fluid (but only in the absence of a predisposition to constipation). Small artifices dopeyat since the transition to the mixture.
If a woman is stressed or nervous, then her stress hormone level, cortisol, rises. Through breast milk, saliva or sweat, the substance enters the body of the baby and also provokes constipation.
For reference. Even if the mother does not breastfeed the baby, the microorganisms that cause constipation sooner or later reach the gastrointestinal system of the crumbs and produce negative changes in it.
The baby is growing, improving skills, and it is time to introduce him to new foods. These circumstances, on the one hand, help to improve peristalsis, and on the other – increase the risk of constipation.
For half a year, the baby is already trying to control the defecation, because he realized that after it there are unpleasant sensations – itching, burning and other discomfort in areas where feces fall. In order not to experience discomfort, the child tries to restrain the urge.
At first, he fails to do this, since the rectum has already learned how to work — to reflexively contract and push out waste. And after a couple of months everything turns out, the baby wins and enters the path leading to chronic constipation.
To take the child out of this vicious circle, the mother should minimize the duration of contact of the baby’s skin with faeces and expand the diet of its food, mastering the supplements.
Proteins, fats and carbohydrates that make up the products are absorbed in the small intestine, and do not reach the fat, where the feces are formed. What can not be said about fiber. While the baby drinks breastmilk or formula, this component of the dishes is not familiar to him.
Even if a nursing woman herself consumes a lot of plant food, the baby does not get anything. Fiber, as already noted, is not absorbed in the intestine, does not enter the bloodstream, which means it is not in breast milk. For the first time a baby gets fiber with supplements, trying its first 25 grams of mashed zucchini, carrots and other vegetables.
Vegetable fibers literally attract all waste to themselves, as a result, fecal masses are formed, which help the intestines to master the proper peristalsis. In this part of the digestive tract, in the intestines, there are a lot of muscles, they must learn to contract consistently – to strain and relax, to squeeze waste out.
For reference. Another new product should be introduced one month after the previous one.
The novelty, most likely, at first will cause more frequent and liquid stool. If it is not green and does not foam, do not run to the doctor and ask for fixatives. Be patient, after a while the innovation will be mastered and will give fruit.
Instead of liquid and shapeless feces of yellow-white color, you will see brown feces formed.
There are other causes of constipation in babies. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to deal with them, since these are pathologies of development, illness, trauma.
Acute constipation. Developed for anatomical reasons, for example, due to obstruction of the colon, or with invagination – the introduction of one part of the intestine into another, which causes blockage of the lumen. Against the background of complete well-being, the baby suddenly becomes restless, cries, refuses to eat.
The attack ends as unexpectedly as it began, but after 3-5 minutes it repeats and intensifies: a single or double vomiting appears with an admixture of green bile. If the feces depart, then there are visible impurities of blood.
After 5–6 hours, the stool is stopped, and bleeding is discharged from the rectum. In this case, the baby’s belly is soft.
The temperature is most often normal. The child may even lose consciousness.
With such symptoms, you must call an ambulance.
Hirschsprung disease. It is based on a violation of the innervation of the colon – the central nervous system cannot control this part of the gastrointestinal tract. As a result, processed food accumulates in the intestines.
The picture of the disease is quite diverse. If only a short part of the intestine is affected, then constipation forms gradually, and it is possible to do without surgical intervention for a rather long time.
When a longer stretch is affected, the absence of stool is fraught with a serious condition and immediate surgical intervention is required.
Infectious attack. If in the first months of life the crumb has suffered an intestinal infection, the nerve cells in the large intestine may die, which will delay the act of defecation, the accumulation of feces and the development of constipation.
When dysentery possible so-called toxic megacolon (a sharp expansion of the colon). The child develops impaired consciousness and repeated vomiting.
The abdomen increases sharply due to the highly dilated intestines. The complication requires emergency surgical care.
Problems with the central nervous system. Injuries during childbirth and cerebral palsy syndrome also affect the work of the gastrointestinal tract, since they are associated with various complications, such as a violation of swallowing, regurgitation, vomiting.
Vasculitis Inflammation of the vessels extends to the nerve plexus and sensory cells located in the intestinal wall.
Disorders in the endocrine system. When hypothyroidism (lack of thyroid function) slows down the movement of the contents through the intestines.
When parathyroid gland dysfunction, constipation arises due to a violation of mineral metabolism, and in diabetes it becomes a result of damage to the intestinal nerve plexuses or dehydration of the child’s body.
M constipation. Before you give your child any medication prescribed by a doctor, carefully read the instructions.
So, iron-containing anemia can cause constipation. To avoid it, adherence to the rules of admission will help – directly during meals, reducing the doses of iron when foods high in iron — buckwheat, apples, and greens — are introduced into the diet.
Particularly noteworthy are constipation resulting from the treatment of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, antipsychotics, sorbents and antibiotics that cause intestinal dysbiosis.
For reference. Diseases and conditions accompanied by constipation are less common in infants.
Many pediatricians do not immediately remember them. Before you get to the truth, they prescribe a lot of unnecessary drugs, forgetting about effective studies of the intestines, such as x-rays.