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Curing Constipation

publication date: Feb 27, 2023
author/source: Dr Nisa Aslam

Ducosol mother and child

If you think your child may be constipated, it’s vital to treat it immediately. Professional, convenient, and accessible, your local pharmacist can advise on how to treat your child safely and effectively. Before you go to the pharmacy, write down all the child’s symptoms so you can describe them accurately and don’t forget anything. The pharmacist will be able to advise if something more serious is a possibility, in which case they will refer you to your GP. 

The charity, Bladder and Bowel UK, give the following as signs to look out for: 

  • Pooing less than three times a week, or more than three times a day 
  • Pain and straining with bowel opening – your child may say it hurts to poo 
  • Witholding (straining to hold a poo in). This might look the same as straining to get a poo out 
  • Tummy aches 
  • Small poos, dry and/or hard poos, or poos of different consistencies 
  • Avoiding the toilet 
  • Not having the urge to do a poo 
  • Your child feeling that they have not finished after they have done a poo 
  • Sore bottom 
  • Poos that smell strong and unpleasant 
  • Dribbling of urine (wee), or wetting 
  • Leaking of liquid or loose poos or passing sticky or hard poos into their pants.

The Bristol Stool Scale 

This is incredibly useful for detecting constipation. ERIC, the children’s bowel, and bladder charity, provides details of the Bristol Stool Scale with a “poo diary” to monitor a child’s bowel movements. See:

There are many over the counter remedies available but not all are available for over the counter sale in young children. However, Docusol Paediatric liquid is for infants and children and is suitable for little ones from the age of six months. It contains docusate which is a well-established stool softener. In other words, it moistens the stool (poop). It has a gentle action working by increasing the amount of water the stool absorbs in the gut, making the stool softer and easier to pass. It is also convenient and easy for the child to take.

Avoiding future problems  

Fruit and fibre are so important for avoiding constipation and resolving it if it occurs. Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluid  and try to be creative and offer as much variety as possible when it comes to the foods you give your child. Wholemeal bread, baked beans, wholegrain cereals may be easy wins but there are other tricks to try:

  • Puree and blend vegetables into sauces and soups.
  • Bake it in – banana bread, carrot cake, beetroot brownies, fruit muffins, grated apple cookies.
  • Smash it into a smoothie – most fruits can be added to a smoothie and you might even try a few vegetables once your children discover they like them.
  • Grate vegetables into stews and casseroles
  • Bug a burger – for children who like burgers, make your own and sneak some finely minced veg into the meat before forming the burger shape.
  • Make pizzas with the children and let them choose their own toppings – include sweetcorn, finely chopped peppers and mushrooms, cherry tomatoes. Even simpler, buy wholemeal pitta breads to use as bases.
  • Mash some riced cauliflower into mashed potato.
  • Smuggle some pureed pumpkin into macaroni cheese and use a dark cheese like Red Leicester to disguise the colour.  

Dr Nisa Aslam is a GP and advisor to Docusol Paediatric