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How to Help Your Child Poop Naturally

family laughing eating dinnerWe know how much of a struggle it can be to watch your child struggle with the discomfort or even pain of constipation. They push and push and strain themselves to no avail, all the while experiencing abdominal cramps, excessive gas, and bloating. Unfortunately, this condition is all too common in kiddos—but just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s normal!

Classic Signs of Constipation

If your child is experiencing the following, they are most likely constipated:

  • Fewer than 3 bowel movements per week
  • Having hard and lumpy stool that is difficult to pass
  • Excessively straining and having pain during a bowel movement
  • Needing help to empty their rectum
  • Feeling like there is a blockage in their rectum
Most parents “try everything,” including changing their child’s diet, adding prune juice or probiotics, and cutting out gluten or dairy. While these changes help some kids, for others, they have no effect on their constipation and offer no relief.

When nothing else works, it can be tempting to reach for the MiraLAX®, an over-the-counter laxative that aids in pulling water into the digestive tract to soften stool and help it pass easier. However, the main ingredient in MiraLAX is polyethylene glycol 3350, which is very controversial. Long term use of this ingredient may have harmful effects on the digestive system and the way the brain communicates with it.

Some other side effects of MiraLAX may include:

  • Bloating
  • Stomach cramps/pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gas
  • Behavioral or psychological effects

That’s right, MiraLAX may actually worsen any behavioral issues or mood swings your child may already struggle with! Even in a best-case scenario with laxatives, they only address the symptoms and leave the underlying cause of the problem uncorrected. And in the worst case, they may harm the digestive tract and the brain’s ability to control it, leading to bigger long-term health problems for your child.

The Nervous System Connection

When changing your kiddo’s diet doesn’t improve the situation, there may be a nervous system aspect of their constipation. There are two components of the autonomic nervous system: the sympathetic division is responsible for the “fight or flight” mechanism in our body—the stress response. It puts us into a state of guard and protection, ready to fight off danger.

The other component is the parasympathetic division, which supports growth, development, rest, relaxation and digestion. This is the part of the nervous system that allows us to poop easily, and it also supports healing and fighting off illnesses naturally. Since little kids’ main jobs are to eat, sleep, grow, develop and poop, they should be in a parasympathetic state most of the time.

Subluxations are vertebrae that have lost their normal alignment in the spine, creating fixation between the spinal joints and tension of the surrounding soft tissues, as well as neurological imbalances caused by irritation of the nerves in the area.

When infants and children struggle with constipation, it’s commonly because stress has accumulated at the top and bottom of the spine, resulting in subluxations. Those are the areas where the parasympathetic nerves originate from, so dysfunction there can shut down that aspect of the nervous system, shifting your child into the “fight or flight” mode.

These subluxations commonly occur at birth, when the infant is pulled from the birth canal with some not-so-gentle hands, forceps or vacuums. Subluxations of the delicate upper neck region can affect a baby’s neurological function and greatly reduce their ability to thrive in life.

The vagus nerve is also found at the top of the spine and plays a big role in the parasympathetic nervous system and digestion. Dysfunction and stress that have accumulated at the top of the spine can affect this nerve and negatively impact the GI tract and digestive system, inhibiting your kiddo’s ability to poop normally.

How Chiropractic May Help

At Evolved Chiropractic, we specialize in neurologically-focused pediatric chiropractic care. By analyzing your child’s nervous system, we can determine how stressed out or unbalanced it is. We release the stress that has built up in the neuro-spinal system through safe, gentle, precisely-targeted chiropractic adjustments.

This may result in calming down the sympathetics, while increasing the activity of the parasympathetics and vagus nerve, to help your child’s brain communicate more effectively with their GI and digestive systems and finally allow them to poop with ease!

We use INSiGHT™ scanners to thoroughly analyze your child’s nervous system. With this technology, we can see exactly where the stress and dysfunction is occurring. There’s no guesswork with this technology! We use this information to develop a customized care plan to work on unwinding the stress and clearing the nervous system of interference so your child can thrive.

Book an Appointment Today

If your child has difficulty pooping, contact us today to schedule their first appointment.

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