The first line of treatment for idiopathic constipation – constipation with no known cause – from your GP would usually be an osmotic laxative such as Lactulose, Movicol, Cosmocol or another similar brand.
Osmotic laxatives are a collection of proteins, fibres, or sugars that promote the movement of water into the colon through a process called osmosis.
In other words, they draw water into the bowel making poo’s larger, softer and therefore (hopefully) easier to pass.
Generally speaking, it’s recommended that children should not take prescription laxatives for longer than 14 days. So what happens if they get things moving, but once you stop, things slow back down again?
You could try an easy and safe remedy at home that works in a similar way.
100ml live probiotic goat or sheep yoghurt (live coconut yoghurt – if you can’t tolerate dairy)
1-3 prunes (depending on child’s age/size)
100ml milk of choice – I like rice, oat, almond, coconut, cashew (fresh apple juice works well too).
½ soft pear (I use tinned in juice)
1-2 tsp ground flax seeds
Prunes are a power house of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium and vitamin K for strong bones. They are also a good source of both insoluble and soluble fibre which creates bulk in poo making it easier to pass. Prunes also contain sorbitol, a naturally occurring sugar that acts as a laxative, increasing poo frequency. Eating 1-3 prunes a day can help to maintain gut health through promoting regular bowel movements.
Pears are known as the king of fruit because they have so many health giving properties. They contain lots of lovely water soluble fibre and pectin which soften and largen poo and promote proper digestion. They are a good source of vitamin C and other vitamins that are essential to the workings of the immune system.
A number of research studies have shown that yogurt consumption can be beneficial to intestinal bacteria and improve symptoms of constipation and IBS in infants, children and adults. Natural sugar free probiotic yoghurt may also reduce the amount of certain disease causing bacteria. It’s important not to give sugary alternatives and stick to the natural live culture that has been a traditional food for centuries. If you child can’t tolerate dairy, then live coconut yoghurt is a good alternative.
Flax seeds are a rich source of vitamins and minerals. Just one tablespoon also provides a good amount of protein, fibre and omega-3 fatty acids (healthy fats). Flax seeds also contain a good amount of fibre, which gets fermented by the good bacteria in the bowel, bulks and softens the poo and results in a more regular bowel movement.
In this picture, I used live coconut yoghurt, rice milk, 1 tsp of flax and 3 prunes.
I can’t say that it looked particular pretty (which is why I’ve decorated it with flowers) but boy did it taste delicious.
You could make a thicker version, minus the milk and add it to baby rice for a yummy baby/toddler breakfast. Or use it as a base for overnight probiotic oats porridge.
My two sometimes like to make a smoothie as their after school snack.
Whatever way you prefer, this is a nutritious addition to your child’s diet, regardless or whether they suffer with constipation or not. It contains a broad spectrum of vitamins an minerals plus probiotics and fibre to help improve their good gut bacteria. As I’ve written in detail here – 80% of our immune system is in our gut!
Good gut bacteria is therefore essential to our overall health.
Have you a healthy remedy or recipe you use to get your child ‘going’ regularly? Or any experience with gut problems?
I’d love to here from you.