Tips for Managing Constipation in Kids

Suggestions for Managing Your Child’s Constipation.


Written by: Karen Moreland L.Ac. Generations Acupuncture LLCConstipation, kids, Chronic

Chronic constipation in kids can be a debilitating and limiting illness for a child and their family. It is really difficult as a parent to know what to do. My intention for writing this article is to give suggestions to help you when you are dealing with a young child with chronic constipation.

In no way is this advice intended to override the advice of your doctor or other medical professional. If your child is experiencing severe bloating, urging for long periods of time without producing stool, having severe abdominal pain or cramping, vomiting with the constipation, or having bleeding from the rectum, stop reading this article and call your doctor right away.


  • Take your child to the doctor. Constipation could be a sign of a more serious problem. If left untreated, chronic constipation can cause many serious health problems later on.
  • Take your child to an acupuncturist who is also trained in Chinese herbs. Acupuncture and herbal medicine is often very helpful with kids who have constipation.
  • Make sure your child drinks plenty of fluids. Dehydration is a major cause of constipation, but it is not something people first think about.
  • Remove all or almost all dairy from your child’s diet. Dairy has been shown to cause constipation, especially in young kids who have underdeveloped digestive systems. Sometimes one meal containing dairy such as mac and cheese or a glass of milk can be enough to cause severe constipation for many days.
  • Increase your child’s fiber intake. It is difficult to get kids to eat their fruits and vegetables sometimes, especially if you have a picky toddler. One way you can increase their fiber is with fiber gummy candy. They make many different brands for kids and you can find them at the grocery store. Kids often love them and they can be an easy way to increase fiber. Another option is to add a powdered fiber like Benefiber to your child’s juice drink. Other options include helping them to eat more fruits and veggies, especially bananas, pears, apples (with the skins), and grapes. Kids need at least 6-8 grams of fiber per day.
  • Give your child pear, pineapple, prune, and/or aloe juice. Make sure the juice is not from concentrate and is organic. The aloe juice that you give should be the kind made from the inner filet of the aloe leaf and not the whole leaf aloe juice. The whole leaf kind is too harsh for kids. Aloe juice doesn’t taste very good by itself, but you can mix it with one of the other juices.
  • Be wary of soy, almond, cashew, and any other kind of nut milk. Nut milks cause constipation in many people. A good substitute for milk that will not cause constipation is coconut milk.
  • Add oils to your child’s diet. Flax oil is a good one for constipation, and Barleans brand makes a good one that is strawberry flavored. You can find it in a health food grocery store like Wholefoods, Vitamin Cottage, or Sprouts. Start with 1 teaspoon a day and then you can increase it if you need to.
  • Give your child abdominal massage once per day. See future blogs about how to do this.
  • Give your child a bath. Sometimes, getting a warm bath will help some kids have a bowel movement about 30 minutes to 1 hour later.
  • Increase your child’s exercise. Even getting them to play on the playground or run around the yard for 15 minutes can help.
  • Give your child a probiotic. I recommend a brand that contains at least several different strains of bacteria, including Acidophilis strains and Bifiobacterium strains.
  • Use caution with Mirilax. If your doctor prescribes Mirilax for your child’s constipation, make sure you are taking your child back for regular follow up visits. Mirilax was not designed for kids to be on long term without a doctor’s supervision. If your child has been on a high dose for a long time without supervision, it could be causing damage to your child’s digestive system. Work with your doctor to get your child managed with as low a dose of Mirilax, for as short a time as possible.
  • Use caution with Magnesium. Be careful of using over the counter Magnesium to soften stools long term. If your child is overdosed with Magnesium it could cause serious complications to their health. If you would like to use more natural supplements like Magnesium to manage constipation, go and visit a Naturopathic Doctor (ND). They have the most knowledge about supplements and the appropriate doses.
  • Use caution with giving too many enemas too close together. If too many enemas are given, they can very quickly cause dehydration and severe electrolyte depletion in young kids. If one enema does not produce a stool, call your doctor. To be safe, it is best to let medical professionals administer enemas.
  • Glycerin liquid suppositories can be used. If a stool is not produced in 5-10 minutes check with your doctor before you administer any more.
  • Use caution with stimulant laxatives. Be careful with giving stimulant laxatives long term, like Senna leaf. They work great in the short term, but giving them consistently long term can cause intestinal damage.
  • Use acupressure. You can do some acupressure at home that may help with constipation. Points to try are: SJ 5 and 6, located on the top of the forearm about 1-1.5 inches back from the wrist. Also: ST 36, 37, 38, located on the lower leg about 1/3 inch lateral to the shin bone, 2-7 inches below the knee. LI4 located on the web of skin between the thumb and the first finger of each hand. LI 10, located on the forearm on a line connecting the tip of the index finger to the lateral side of the elbow about 1-2 inches from the elbow. Massage each of these points for a couple minutes, starting closer to the body and moving out to the hands and feet. Two other places to massage are around the belly button and down the lower back and sacrum.
  • Give a vitamin D supplement. Vitamin D has been shown to be important in the development and health of the digestive system in growing kids.
  • Consider that your child may have a food sensitivity. Unfortunately due to your child’s developing digestive and immune systems it is difficult to do a test for a food sensitivity until they are older. A Naturopathic doctor, starting at 5 years old, can do a blood test for this. If your child is still having problems at this point you may need to remove these foods completely from their diet. The biggest culprits are eggs, dairy, gluten, wheat, nuts, and citrus fruit.
  • Try Homeopathy. Many Naturopathic Doctors and some Chinese Medical practitioners are trained in homeopathy. These remedies are often effective, very safe for kids, and they work quickly.
  • Follow Chinese Medicine dietary guidelines. In Chinese medicine we recommend you do not give any food with artificial dye, refined sugar, pesticides, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, or foods that are highly processed. Do not introduce dairy produced by cows until your child is older (2-3 years old). Try to offer your child organic foods, I know it can be expensive, but do the best you can. Give them food that has been cooked and is not raw. If foods are eaten without being cooked first, the body has to put more energy into them to digest them. This can be more difficult on a person with weak digestion.
  • Try to breast feed as long as possible. Kids who have been breast fed tend to have better digestion and stronger immune systems. Try to breast feed until your child is at least 1 year old.
  • Keep in mind that many children with chronic constipation will have trouble with it long term. In some cases it could be years, or their whole life. They may have a relapse if there are sudden changes in the household, a new stress of some kind, or diet changes. You may need to go back to the doctor and give laxatives for a little while again to get it back under control.
  • Be patient with your child, especially if they are experiencing fear and trying to hold it. If you lose your patience, you will make it worse. This is really tough on them; they need your understanding and love.


This can be difficult for the entire family. If you need help don’t hesitate to reach out and ask. All medical professionals are here to help.


If you enjoyed this article and found it helpful, please share.

For more information on what Chinese Medicine can do for kids,

visit our website:


Written by:

Karen Moreland L.Ac.

Generations Acupuncture LLC