I found the following question and answer article from a respected health magazine. It addresses the issue of how to treat or cure constipation in small children. This is a must read for parents with small children as they are often at a loss on how to treat constipation for small children naturally without resorting to conventional medicine.
My little girl, six years old, has been troubled with constipation all her life. I have given her mineral oil, milk of magnesia, senna tea, enemas, glycerin suppositories, etc. The trouble is we have to keep giving her these things. She appears to be well in every other way, although she seems a little nervous. She eats well and is up to normal in weight. Is there anything I can do to overcome this condition? I dislike to think of her having this struggle all her life. It is the attitude of “struggle” that is the biggest part of the trouble.
An expert answer on treatment of constipation in children
Constipation in itself is usually not a serious condition. The anxiety that attends it is often more undesirable and does more harm than the bowel sluggishness itself.A person who is always anxious and fearful because his bowels do not move, is more apt to have the tense bowel that favors such inactivity.
In the first place, stop worrying because the child’s bowels do not move, and do not at any time let her see that you are anxious about it. Do not impart to your little girl the anxiety that you yourself have felt. The bowel is very intimately connected with and controlled by the sympathetic nervous system,and indirectly, adverse emotional states have an unfavorable impact as important in its normal processes as is its ability to contract. With every pushing movement of the muscle wall, there must be an alternate letting go or relaxation. It is this alternation of work and rest that produces the normal onward movement of the intestinal contents. So to stop worrying is the first prerequisite for successful treatment.
Second, discontinue all laxatives. Give her no more milk of magnesia, senna, or even mineral oil. Instead, give her daily,for three days, an injection of warm flaxseed tea into the bowel. Make this by steeping a tablespoon or two of whole flaxseed in a pint or perhaps more of water. Strain off the seeds and cool as necessary. If too thick, add a little water. It must be thin enough to run well through the enema tube, but still be distinctly slimy. After the three successive days, give her an enema on alternate days for perhaps a week. Then discontinue.
Third, see that the child has an ample serving of fruit, stewed or raw, at two of her three daily meals. Give her a glass of fruit juice once or twice a day between meals. Let her have a serving of raw or cooked vegetables, or both, at the third meal. Her breads or cereals should all be of the whole-grain type. Her sweets and desserts should be limited.
The general principles of normal child feeding should be followed in her case. She should have the outdoor air and Let her have a serving of raw or cooked vegetables, or both, at the third meal. Her breads or cereals should all be of the whole-grain type.
She should have the outdoor air and sunshine she needs to make her sturdy, and the question of whether or not her bowels-rmrvE should cease to be a major topic of conversation. If her bowels do not move for a day or two, take very little note of it. Increase her fruit juice a little, and trust that nature will take care of the situation, as it surely will, barring acute intestinal obstruction, of which there is probably no likelihood. If at any time, after several days of waiting, you really feel something must be done, give her a warm flaxseed enema and a drink of flaxseed tea sweetened with a little honey. If with this procedure, her bowels do not come to move with a fair degree of regularity, she should, after a month or so, be examined by a physician.