The People's Perspective on Medicine

How a Little Girl Overcame Her Constipation

A mother describes how her young daughter overcame her constipation by following a diet full of fiber-rich vegetables and fruits.
Child eats vegetables. Summer photo. Selective focus nature

Digestive woes such as heartburn and constipation are tricky enough to manage when an adult suffers from them. When the person suffering is a child, the situation becomes even more serious. A mother describes how her young daughter overcame her constipation and subsequently her heartburn.

A Little Girl Overcame Her Constipation by Changing Her Diet:

Q. My 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with GERD and put on three medicines with long lists of horrible side effects. Those made me uncomfortable, so we looked for an alternative on your website.

Our mantra became veggies, veggies, veggies, fruit, fruit and a little bit of meat. Lots of veggies (ideally three per lunch or dinner meal) seem to prevent her constipation. As it happens, this is a contributing factor to her GERD. We also found which foods were big triggers and which foods to avoid.

That allowed us to cut down on the omeprazole very, very slowly. We opened the capsule and literally counted out the pellets inside. She took one or two pellets less daily.

Fiber Was Crucial for Overcoming Constipation:

A. Fiber is the foundation for constipation treatment. Experts recommend insoluble dietary fiber from vegetables and fruits (Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, online March 7, 2019). We are delighted to learn how well it worked for your daughter. We include a list of fiber-rich foods in our eGuide to Controlling Constipation

For people who cannot tolerate so much fiber, there are other solutions. For example, a little sugar-free gum can often help ease constipation. Don’t overdose, though. Too much can lead to diarrhea.

We trust you informed her pediatrician or family practice provider about discontinuing the omeprazole. You were wise to do this gradually, as stopping omeprazole or other PPIs suddenly can trigger rebound heartburn for some people. Going about it so slowly should have spared your daughter this discomfort.

Learn More:

In addition to our eGuide, you may wish to listen to some relevant interviews we have done with outstanding experts. In Show 1115, Dr. Robynne Chutkan told us How You Can Conquer Constipation. Sometimes parents wonder how they will ever get their children to eat vegetables. Dr. Nimali Fernando, aka Dr. Yum, gave us lots of good ideas in Show 1110: Terrific Tips to Help Kids Love Healthy Food. We’d love to hear how your child overcame her constipation, so share your story in the comment section below.

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Constipation
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Backed Up? This guide teaches you some simple lifestyle changes, home remedies and medicines for preventing and treating constipation, including a Pumpkin-Bran Muffin recipe, along with Joe and Terry's ten tips to combat constipation.

Constipation
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I was constipated as a little girl. It was caused by cow’s milk. Guess what? There is no fiber in cow’s milk.

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