Question : MY two-year-old baby girl has been suffering from constipation and has lost her appetite. She only passes motion every two days. The stools are hard and heavy. What can I do to improve her bowel movements?
Answer : GENERALLY, if the bowel movement is fewer than three times in a week or the bowel movement is regular but the stool is hard or difficult to pass, it is defined as constipated. Symptoms that accompany constipation include bloating, loss of appetite, mild nausea, indigestion, headaches, a coated tongue, tiredness and bad breath.
Chronic constipation can affect health as the waste remains in the intestines for excessive periods, causing toxins to be formed and absorbed into the body. Constipation happens at all age groups. The underlying causes include lack of fibre in the diet, a high intake of refined carbohydrates and inadequate fluid intake.
If your baby is having a continuous constipation problem, consider changing her milk to one of soya. Increase her intake of whole grains, fresh vegetables and fruits, which are rich in fibre. Dark green leafy vegetables, papaya, prunes, wheat bran and oat bran are all the effective natural sources that help enhance bowel movement. Give her more water as this helps to soften the stools, making them easier to move through the gastrointestinal tract.
You may supplement her diet with two clinically proven strains of friendly bacteria, Lactobacillus acidophilus 5 (LA5) and Bifidobacterium lactis 12 (BB12). Probiotics help to break down food, thus reducing stomach discomfort, improve absorption of nutrients and improve appetite.
Probiotics also helps to strengthen the immune system of children to prevent infection and atopic conditions such as asthma, skin rashes and digestive problems.