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The Best Natural Laxatives for Kids

Published on , Last Updated on August 9, 2017
 

Kid needs a laxative

Constipation is a painful ordeal to live with. Your gut gets bloated, your stomach aches, and your body simply does not feel ‘right.’ The process can be even worse for children, particularly if you are a parent that feels helpless watching your young child squirm with pain from constipation. Most of the time it seems like there is nothing you can do to help relieve their distress. Giving your child chemical laxatives is always an option, and recent studies of newer chemicals have been promising; however, the safest and best way to help children relieve themselves of constipation is to use a natural remedy. [1]

Why? Because chemical laxatives can have harsh side effects, which include diarrhea, vomiting, stomach aches, and in some cases even allergic reactions. Skipping over chemical laxatives entirely and going straight to natural-laxative options is a great way to forgo any unwanted and potentially dangerous side effects for your children. Let’s learn a bit more about the best natural laxatives for kids. [2]

1. Water

The actual causes of constipation will vary depending on the person. However, many times something as simple as a lack of water can be the reason. One of the simplest and most natural ways to relieve constipation is to have your child drink extra water. The average human’s body weight is made up of approximately 60% water. And if you are not getting enough good old H2O, your intestine will soak up water from your food waste, which will in turn leave you will hard stools that cause constipation. [3] [4]

2. Olive oil or Castor oil

This is a safe and effective way to naturally treat constipation. Using olive oil or castor oil will stimulate the walls of both the small and large intestine, and can be so effective that it may take a day or two before your bowel movements return to normal. Getting a child to drink oil may be a difficult task, so you can mix it with lemon juice, or simply put it on a salad. [4]

3. Flaxseed

It can help maintain a healthy colon and promote regular and easy bowel movements. The seeds are high in fiber and rich in omega-3 fatty acids. You can grind up flaxseed and mix them into a smoothie for your child and they will have no idea that they just had a healthy drink.

4. Fiber

One of the most common causes of constipation is a diet low in fiber. Fiber has been known to increase both the weight and bulk of a stool, which makes bowel movements easier to pass, as well as increase in frequency. Eating fruits and vegetables high in fiber or fiber-fortified cereals is an excellent way to help relieve constipation.

5. Prunes or Pears

These are probably the most well known natural remedy for constipation. The fruits contain a large amount of fiber. Prunes also contain large amounts of the sugar sorbitol, which can also help loosen bowels.

Additional High Fiber Foods

Here is a handy reference list of foods that are high in fiber. Making these a part of your child’s diet on a regular basis can help reduce their incidence of constipation all together.

  • Oatmeal
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Orange
  • Prunes
  • Strawberries
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Green Beans
  • Peas
  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Bread (wheat and white)
  • Rice

There are many foods that can help relive constipation by acting as a natural laxative. Most of those foods are rich in fiber, and eating a combination of those foods, plus drinking plenty of fluids, can be a great way to naturally relieve constipation in children without having to resort to using harsh chemical laxatives

-Dr. Edward F. Group III, DC, ND, DACBN, DABFM

References:

  1. Alper, A., Pashankar, D.S. Polyethylene Glycol: A Game-changer Laxative for Children. J Pediatr Gastroenterol Nutr. 2013 Apr 14. [Epub ahead of print].
  2. Kaiser Permanente. Stool Softener-Stimulant Laxative. (last accessed 2013-06-10)
  3. Camilleri, Michael. >Identifying the Cause of Chronic Constipation the First Step toward Treatment. Mayo Clinic. (last accessed 2013-06-10)
  4. National Digestive Diseases Information Clearing House. Constipation. (last accessed 2013-06-10)

Posted In: Colon Health Blog,Constipation
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