Consequences of prolonged constipation in children

The article was professionally consulted with Doctor Tran Mai Phuong - Department of Pediatrics - Neonatology, Vinmec Central Park International General Hospital.
Constipation is a common symptom and causes great harm to children's health. Prolonged constipation affects health and psychology, causing toxins to accumulate and causing diseases in the genital tract.

1. What is constipation?

Constipation is a common gastrointestinal disease in children, statistics show that at least 30% of children with constipation need attention.
Constipation is an infrequent (<3 times/week) or painful, difficult bowel movement that can be uncomfortable and stressful for children and families. Therefore, it is important to recognize early to prevent persistent (chronic) childhood constipation
According to NICE 2010 criteria, the diagnosis of constipation in children is established if 2 criteria are present. The following criteria are satisfied:
Have <3 complete bowel movements per week Large and hard stools, goat droppings, or very large, infrequent stools that want to clog the toilet. Feeling uncomfortable, tense when going out. Hard stools cause fissures and anal bleeding. Straining a lot, holding stool behavior. Previous history of constipation. Past or current history of anal fissures, history of painful bowel movements, and bleeding from hard stools
Táo bón gây khó khắn cho trẻ khi tiểu

2. Consequences of constipation in children

Prolonged constipation in infants, if not actively treated, can lead to the following serious consequences:
Accumulation of toxins in the body Going to the toilet every day will help our body get rid of toxins out. However, for people with constipation, it is often difficult to have a bowel movement every day, then the toxins will remain, affecting the internal organs of the body.
Internal hemorrhoids, external hemorrhoids When prolonged constipation in infants will cause hemorrhoids in young children due to the phenomenon of increased abdominal pressure because always trying to push when having a bowel movement makes the hemorrhoids become more and more frequent. enlarged, with each bowel movement, and often bloody with stools.
Anal fissure This is the most painful condition caused by prolonged constipation in children. The stools that have been stored for a long time in the colon become larger and more solid. Faeces that are larger than the dilation of the anal canal are the cause of anal fissures. When experiencing this complication, the child not only has bloody stools but also very painful. Hard stools cause the child to push during each bowel movement and cause bleeding in the anus. If heavy bleeding is not corrected soon, anemia can result.
Painful bowel movements Prolonged constipation in children causes painful bowel movements in children. Because of fear of pain, children are afraid to defecate, often holding back defecation even when the child has a need. Holding a bowel movement for a long time makes constipation worse. The cycle repeats without end.
Affects skin and psychology Children eat and drink equally, do not eat well, sleep poorly, are often tired and cry a lot. Besides, every time they eat, they think that after eating, they will have to go to the toilet, making many children obsessed and afraid of eating. Moreover, eating but not being able to defecate often causes a feeling of fullness in the abdomen. The combination of these factors produces anorexia in children with constipation.
Inflammation of the anorectal canal, anal abscess, anal fistula. Hard stools hurt and infect the lining of the rectum, anal canal, so it increases the risk of infection, anal abscess. Anal fistula, later anal fistula in children.
Intestinal obstruction Due to long-term stagnant stool in the colon, it becomes more and more solid day by day and can cause semi-obstruction or intestinal obstruction, with manifestations such as: intermittent abdominal pain occurring continuously, abdominal distension. , unable to smell or defecate.
Táo bón kéo dài có thể gây tắc ruột
Increased pressure in the intestine Increased stagnation of stool, fluid in the lumen of the appendix puts children at risk of appendicitis. On the other hand, long-term constipation also makes the large intestine weak, dilated, forming colonic diverticula and at risk of bowel perforation.
The way to prevent prolonged constipation in children is to give them more vegetables and fruits, which will help the abdominal muscles and intestinal wall contract better. Beetroot juice or broth is also effective against constipation in children. The best way to prevent constipation is to teach children the habit of having a bowel movement at a fixed time of the day. Laxatives should only be used when prescribed by a doctor.
In order to limit the child's constipation as well as the use of antibiotics, parents should pay attention to the nutrition that improves the child's resistance. At the same time, supplementing with supporting foods containing lysine, essential micro-minerals and vitamins such as zinc, chromium, selenium, B vitamins, etc., helps support the immune system, strengthens resistance so that children are less sick and less likely to have digestive problems.
Parents can learn more:
Why do you need to supplement Lysine for your baby?
The role of zinc - Guidelines for reasonable zinc supplementation
Please visit the website Vinmec.com regularly and update useful information to take care of your baby and family.

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