Why can constipation be so painful

Chronic constipation: Painful bowel movements are often the trigger

06.12.2006

Often, chronic constipation is preceded by acute painful constipation. This often occurs in children, e.g. when they hold back their stool for too long while driving or when they drink too little. The harder the stool becomes, the more painful the emptying is, so that children quickly switch to avoidance tactics - a vicious cycle with chronic constipation can be inevitable ...

Chronic constipation, in the majority of cases, is based on unnoticed acute painful constipation. "This often occurs in children, e.g. when they hold back their stool for too long when they are driving, if they drink too little, if small children become 'dry' too quickly or as a side effect of antibiotic treatment. The harder the stool becomes, the more painful the emptying is, so that children quickly switch to avoidance tactics - a vicious cycle with chronic constipation can be inevitable, "warns Dr. Gunhild Kilian-Kornell, pediatrician and press spokeswoman for the professional association of paediatricians (BVKJ). When children cross their legs or sit on their own fist, these can be signs of holding back feces. If a particularly large amount of stool has accumulated in the intestine, it can also lead to so-called “overflow stools”, which smell bad and the parents often mistake for diarrhea.

Most healthy toddlers under the age of three (97%) need to go to the bathroom once a day for “big business”. Chronic constipation is when you pass hard, large, or small balls of stool with pain infrequently (i.e. not every other day) for three months. “As soon as parents notice that their child is having problems with defecation, they should take them to the pediatrician. Also to rule out organic causes. When making a diagnosis, it is helpful to observe precisely how long the disturbances have occurred, whether there have been any triggers, whether there are other complaints such as fever and at what intervals the child was usually able to go to the toilet. If there is already chronic constipation, the normalization of bowel movements sometimes requires up to six months of patience. In addition to laxative drugs, nutritional advice and keeping a stool calendar can be part of the therapy plan, ”explains Dr. Kilian Kornell. In order to avoid constipation in advance, parents should make sure that their children get enough exercise, drink enough fluids, eat high-fiber foods and do not get too much constipating foods such as carrots, bananas and chocolate. Plum jam, pears, figs, dates and flaxseed as well as the habitual use of the toilet after eating ensure good digestion. A gentle clockwise stomach massage with the flat of your hand also helps to stimulate intestinal motor skills.