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A Nutritionist Speaks: How to Promote Your Child’s Digestive Health

Building Block 3: Exercise continued...

When they’re exercising or just very busy playing, kids may not want to take a break to go to the bathroom. Especially if they’re younger, you may have to make sure that they stick to a regular toilet schedule, since frequently holding in urine and waste can lead to bowel problems and constipation.

Another factor that can play a big role in digestive health, particularly for kids, is stress. “Stress can definitely lead to constipation,” says Goldberg. “It’s often also a factor in other digestive problems, like irritable bowel syndrome or Crohn’s disease.”

If you’re working with your child on toilet issues, don’t put on too much pressure. “Sometimes children will retain their stool because they’re afraid of potty training, or it hurt at one point and they’re a little fearful, so they make themselves not go,” says Goldberg. “It’s very important that if kids are potty training, or they’ve had a bad bathroom experience, that you don’t make it overwhelming for them. Talk to your child and help them feel reassured and relaxed, and consult your pediatrician.”

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Reviewed on February 06, 2012

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