Getting rid of constipation strikes a chord in me. You see, my special needs son has struggled with severe and life-threatening constipation and it is an ongoing management issue with his health and for his genetic syndrome. I needed a miracle at the time I took him to the ER. But, it became a daily maintenance issue for us after we spent 3 weeks in and out of the hospital one year. This was my first lesson in just how serious constipation can be.
While many just view constipation as a simple side effect of medications or just eating the wrong foods, many also struggle with the un-comfortableness of general constipation. As in the case of my son, constipation remains an issue related to hormone imbalances and low muscle tone. However, generally, constipation signals that your body needs you to change something. Your unwanted matter that your body is ridding itself from—poop—helps remove toxins from your body, but when it becomes blocked, they system backs up.
Needless to say, getting constipated like this can make you sick and even lead to autoimmune issues. It can also cause you to gain weight, and keep your food from properly digesting. Obviously, it is safe to say that pooping is one of the most important functions your body needs to perform every day. Yet, finding the source of constipation is can be challenging, so getting things moving first should be your priority. Finding the cause becomes a secondary, but necessary step.
Why does constipation happen?
There are some possible causes of constipation, even in children. Many autistic children struggle with constipation, and other special needs children, who are immobile. Although you must try to make a Mom diagnosis on the cause, here are some possible reasons why you or your child may become constipated.
- Changes in diet
- Eating too many dairy products
- Not drinking enough fluids or becoming dehydrated
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Not enough fiber in the diet
- Not being active
- Over use of laxatives
- Eating disorders (too much of the same food)
- Over active thyroid
- Problems with muscles or nerves in digestive tract or other medical issues related to genetic syndromes or autism spectrums
If the constipation cause is obvious from this list, then you are far ahead of many others. If not, you may need to do some trial and error of eliminating foods and other possible causes to find the needle in the haystack.
Sometimes bowel impactions cause accidents
If you have a special needs child with this issue, or even care for an elderly person, you may not realize that the cause of poop accidents (outside of diarrhea), is also constipation. Watch this video created by the University of Colorado to instruct children, in particular, about what causes poop accidents, and what can be done to stop it. This is a cartoon video, which nicely explains a lot about constipation you never knew, and was shown to our family at my son’s gasteroenterologist. The video explains more about physiology than it does about supplements we can use as parents, however, it will help you understand more about constipation.
What can you do about your constipation?
There are many practical solutions for constipation. Begin by taking it seriously, then work on the methods below (or another one you find out about) that bring bowel movement. Waiting for constipation to take two and three days to pass is an emergency situation. If you or your child simply cannot pass stool, then you should immediately see a doctor, or even go to the nearest ER.
Assuming you are not that far gone, you can and should try some or all of the following solutions.
Boost your water
Always, boost your water or liquid intake. Avoid caffeine and drink water. I have a kid who won’t drink water (the one who struggles with constipation, of course) and I will make him homemade lemonade or limeade. I will even sweeten his water with stevia if that is what it takes. I push liquids all the time. Look for this cute little app called Plant Nanny for your devices. It will remind you to drink water throughout the day.
Magnesium citrate liquid
This is a good option and inexpensive option. You can purchase it at any drug store, and even Dollar Tree. Drink a medicine cap full every 2 to 3 hours until your bowels move properly.
Natural Vitality’s CALM magnesium powder.
Digestive natural enzymes
These papaya and peppermint enzymes really help fight constipation simply by helping your stomach digest properly. You will find they are all natural and do not contain any extra additives or chemicals like the expensive brand enzymes. Plus, these great tablets save money by keeping your stomach acid balanced and helping your body digest and pass food.
Get your probiotics in! Always replenish your gut bacteria. You can do this at home through making your own yogurt, kombucha and even probiotic lemonade. You can also purchase these items at grocery stores like Whole Foods or any other health food store.
Purchasing probiotics in the form of acidophilus or probiotic capsules should be purchased in the refrigerated section, as opposed to the shelf.
Digestive oils purchased both through Young Living and DoTerra also work well, but you can also purchase Plant Therapy’s DiGiZen. Plant Therapy and Edens Garden cost much less and are simply as effective. Used topically or internally, these oils can help you improve your digestion and loosen up your bowels for movement. If you like to make your own, you can also follow my constipation remedy below.
Kim’s constipation remedy:
What you need:
4 ounces of organic cold-pressed coconut oil
5 drops of coriander oil (can skip this and double up on the peppermint oil)
7 drops of wild orange oil
4 drops of lemon oil
2 drops of ginger oil
2 drops of peppermint oil
How you make your recipe:
Being with your coconut or other base oil and add the other essential oils to it in your jar. You can use this two ways. To use it topically, apply the salve on the belly and massage in a clockwise position. To use internally, measure out one half teaspoon for elementary aged children, half for a smaller child (or less) and double for an older child. Give every two hours as needed.
Please note: All children, but especially special needs children and poop problems are synonymous. This can be caused many ways, but finding a solution as a Mom is super important to our kids’ health. Any child who has not pooped in two days should see a doctor. And any child whose digestion is so backed up they cannot eat or shut down into sleep needs to be immediately seen by a physician, or taken to the ER.