see also Constipation
Definitions vary, some doctors defining constipation as the failure to pass a stool every day, others regarding a bowel movement every four or five days as acceptable, provided stools are not too hard or painful to pass. Nevertheless the longer faeces remain in the bowel the more opportunity there is for toxic substances to be reabsorbed into the bloodstream and passed to the liver, causing poor liver function and other problems.
Constipation may be a sign of Hirschsprung's Disease in babies or very young children, Anal Fissure, hypothyroidism (see Thyroid Problems), or parental over-emphasis on regular bowel habits (see Toilet Training Problems). Persistent constipation requires constitutional treatment. If the remedies listed below fail to work within 48 hours, consult your doctor if there is no improvement in 12 hours. Laxatives and suppositories should only be used on your doctor's instructions.
Specific remedies to be taken 4 times daily for up to 14 days
- Stools difficult to pass even when soft, child has no desire to pass stool unless rectum is completely full, itchy eyes, dry skin Alumina 6c
- Stools large, dry, and hard, mouth and tongue dry, child very thirsty Bryonia 6c
- Child irritable and chilly, feels urge to pass stool but is unable to, or if able to feels there is more to come Nux 6c
- Sudden stomach cramps, urge to pass stool but stool slips back up inside Silicea 6c
- Child feels better when constipated Calcarea 6c
- Small, hard stools with ineffectual straining and a lot of wind Lycopodium 6c
- Lazy bowel, no desire to pass stool for days on end, when passed stool takes form of little hard balls, child loses appetite, is drowsy during day and wakeful at night, and very sensitive to noise Opium 6c
Self-help: Increase amount of fibre in child's diet, avoid cooking in aluminium utensils or foil, and increase fluid intake, especially if constipation is acute and child's temperature is higher than normal.