Nutritional and Supplemental Treatments for Constipation and Encopresis

After reading the information on Common ways constipation presents in children, we need to discuss how to treat this problem.

This blog post will discuss – Supplements and Nutritional treatments –

WATER +++ children in general do not drink enough water, teens especially.

  •  Goal of water intake a day: 1/2 your body weight in pounds = oz of water a day. So if you weigh 70lbs, you should be drinking 35 oz of water a day.

But water is so boring……. Well, let’s make it more interesting

1 – Use duct tape and hot glue gun and jewel up your water bottle with the times of the day

 

2 – Get this decal for your water bottle from Etsy

3 – Use a Water App to remind you to drink water while snapchatting.

4 – Infuse your water with delicious flavors via water bottles with infusers, fruit frozen in ice cubes, or simply fruit mixed with water and a bit of real sugar. 
  

WHOLE MILK can be constipating, especially if it’s not organic and locally harvested.  Organic whole milk from local farms is full of omega 3’s and due to reduced pasteurization process, it is full of probiotics that aids with digestion.  Furthermore, too much milk may also be an issue.  For example, drinking 24-32 oz of whole milk a day, may be the issue. Change to 2% milk and decrease daily milk intake to 18-24 oz a day.   Add water to the milk in those who refuse to drink anything else.  Consider Organic Local Milk

FIBER – see Fiber Outline Below for age specific fiber needs. Also see fiber nutrition chart

There are 2 types of fiber in food:

  • Soluble Fiber – dissolves in water to form a gel-like material.  Helps lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
  • Insoluble Fiber – promotes the movement of material through your digestive system and increases stool bulk.  A benefit to those with constipation or irregular stools.

Fiber also feeds the bacteria that live in the gut to help strengthen digestion, the immune system, and mental health

How to get more fiber in your child’s diet with food?

  

DAILY PROBIOTIC – a daily Probiotic is a MUST – this helps populate the gut with healthy bacteria and aid in digestion. Milk of magnesia and Miralax work great to treat constipation but they do not get to the underlying issue for constipation. Treating the root cause of the problem is far more beneficial then just treating the symptoms.

HOW TO CHOOSE A PROBIOTIC – it must have 5 or more different organisms, it must have over 1 billion colonies. It should be refrigerated. I am obsessed with the results my patients are getting from VSL3. Capsules for all, open and sprinkle. No taste, no smell. VSL3 packets taste gross.


Start with one pill a day and increase as needed. Beware: first 2 weeks you may be gassy and bloated as the body gets used to the probiotic. This means it’s working :).

When your gut is properly working, it helps the rest of the body work well. If your gut is out of sync, there are many other issues you will face.  A little problem called inflammation occurs when the gut is struggling along.  Inflammation leads to acne, asthma, allergies, eczema, diabetes, cancer, to name a few.

  • Price – best deal Costco and Sam’s Club Pharmacies. It is available at all pharmacies and Amazon. Ask the pharmacist. It’s not on the shelves.

JUICE PLUS FOR GUT HEALTH – instead of fiber gummies or fiber supplements that have questionable ingredients, I prefer Juice Plus. These are organically grown fruits and veggies powdered into gummies or capsules with digestive enzymes. In Summary, the ingredients are fruits and veggies and digestive enzymes, instead of corn syrup and food coloring. Price $28 a month per person for red/green gummies. Miralax is $28 a month if not more, depending on where you purchase it.  In case you don’t believe I am saying check out The Medical Research on Juice Plus

MAGNESIUM SUPPLEMENTS can also help with bowel motility.  Magnesium Citrate works better then Magnesium Oxide for constipation because it is better absorbed by the intestines.  Magnesium Review by University of Maryland.  Always discuss magnesium dosing with your doctor first.

Magnesium-supplements-may-help-blood-sugar-management-for-pre-diabetics-RCT
Magnesium Supplements USA

COCONUT OIL:

coconut oil

62-65% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are medium chain triglicerides (MCT).  These MCT’s are known for balancing the bacteria in the gut, which in turn leads to better absorption of minerals and nutrients from the diet.  In children you can start with 1tsp a day and increase to 1-2 tablespoons a day.  Slowly increase the dose until there is regular soft stool.  No worries, if you overshoot it, they have diarrhea.  That’s your signal to back down on the dose.  My preferred time for coconut oil intake is before bed to allow the body to heal and reorganize the gut bacteria during sleep.

Lastly, there are also Behavioral Modifications for the treatment of Constipation and Encopresis

In Good Health, Ana-Maria Temple, MD


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