Health Tips
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Many children are affected by constipation; for them, it usually implies pain while passing stool as the stools tend to be hard. In some cases, parents often tend to confuse soiling as diarrhea when it may actually indicate symptoms of impacted constipation (obstruction of faeces). In order to prevent constipation from turning into a chronic problem, make sure your child receives proper treatment at the earliest.

Symptoms of constipation:
Constipation in children can be characterized by its symptoms which are:

1.Your child will experience difficulty in passing stools

2.He/she may also experience pain during the process; trace amounts of blood may be present on the nappy.

3.The stool tends to be large in size and hard by nature

4.The child may not have normal bowel habits; he may pass stools less than the normal number of times.

5.Loss of appetite

6.He/she may experience intense pain in the stomach

7.This condition may cause sudden changes in behavior; your child may become irritated or unhappy very easily.

8.He/ she may experience nausea

9.The child may also often soil his/her clothes by passing feces at irregular intervals

Causes of constipation in children:

Constipation in children may be caused due to a number of factors, which are:

1. Withholding of stool: In some cases, your child may try to forcefully hold back bowels every time he/she may want to go to the toilet. This may happen due to reasons such as lack of toilet training or not wanting to use toilets at certain places.

2. Diet: A diet devoid of fiber may be the cause behind your child's constipation. Also, not drinking enough water throughout the day may cause the stools to harden, thus causing difficulty while passing them. The fiber content in food adds roughage to the diet and thus, helps in facilitating smooth bowel movements.

3. Psychological problems: Constipation may also be caused due to certain emotional problems and drawbacks, such as certain fears or phobias. An example would be when the child feels the need to go to the toilet at night, but withholds it if he/she has a fear of ghosts. A change in the surroundings such as moving to a new place may also cause bowel problems in your child.

Dr. Atul Patil
MS/MD - Ayurveda Proctologist Ayurveda 9 Years Experience, Pune

indian style of defaecation doesn't need to strain at stool. abdominal musculature is pushed by thighs and also supports it. that helps to increase the intra abdominal pressure and pushes faeces out.

Who wouldn't love eating a banana? It's an easy-to-grab and hassle-free fruit to gorge on when we are pressed for time, especially in the morning. Moreover, the humble fruit is lauded for its taste and numerous health benefits that it has to offer. According to the book, 'Healing Foods' by DK Publishing, bananas are extremely versatile. They are rich in potassium, which is essential for maintaining blood pressure, and are natural antacids, which makes them a soothing and healing choice for an upset stomach. While it may be the 'perfect' fruit for many, it has become the centre of much debate regarding constipation. Some people believe bananas cause constipation, while others swear by them to help relieve it. It's a common notion that infants shouldn't be fed with bananas as their weak digestive system may not be able to handle too much fibre, causing irritation in the tummy. Here's what we found out.

According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Coach, Shilpa Arora, "Bananas are loaded with fibre and nutrients that protect the gut lining. It's the food for healthy bacteria in your gut. Fibre helps eliminate toxins from the colon, which helps with constipation. However, one needs to understand that bananas don't cure constipation magically. It is important to avoid eating certain refined foods that are said to cause chronic constipation. Avoid biscuits, breads, and all other items made with refined flour and processed sugar." As per the book 'Healing Foods', banana's high fibre content helps bowel regularity and eases constipation.

According to Delhi-based dietitian, Ritu Arora, "Ripened bananas improve the bowel syndrome and let micro villi present in small intestine to function better; further helping in digestion and relieving constipation."

Unripe bananas (green-coloured) may cause constipation as they have high levels of resistant starch, which can be hard for the body to digest; which is why picking yellow-coloured ripe bananas is always a better option. Green unripe bananas are generally said to help treat diarrhoea in infants. As the banana ripens, the amount of resistant starch reduces and is converted into sugars. Ripe bananas are relatively high in fibre content, which has long been claimed to prevent and ease constipation. Fibre tends to absorb water; helping stools to pass easily.

Is Ripe Banana A Good Option For Infants?

According to Delhi-based Paediatrician, Dr. Deepak Bansal, "Breastfeeding should be continued till the age of six months as per WHO recommendations. After six months, weaning should be started gradually. Banana is an excellent weaning food, and can be safely started at six months of age. It has many advantages over other weaning foods or cereals. Banana is soft in texture, so it's easier to mash. As it has a thick natural covering, therefore, the chances of contamination are negligible. Also, being rich in fibre, it helps keep stools normal. Banana can be softened further, if needed, by adding water, milk or curd. You should start with small amount initially - that is once or twice a day. It can be given with other cereals, only if the baby is not under the risk of food allergies. Some children may be allergic to bananas. In case, one is allergic to the fruit, s/he will show some symptoms of uneasiness after eating a bite. In such cases, you should consult your paediatrician.

Ripe and unripe bananas are used for different purposes. Unripe bananas work best when someone's suffering from diarrhoea; on the other hand, ripe bananas are best to relieve constipation. So, go for bananas and don't hesitate to eat one every day! Also, remember to not over-do anything, as moderation is the key. Also, bananas have high amount of natural sugars, it is recommended that diabetics should consult their diabetologist before consuming them.

Chewing a paan or betel leaf after meal is an ancient food tradition in India. After lunch or dinner, people usually make their way to the tiny paan shops to savour paan, while some make them at home by wrapping gulkand (rose preserve), chopped areca nut, dry roasted fennel seeds, coconut powder, honey, cloves and cardamom pods. But, did you know that this heart-shaped leaf is not only used to make paan?It is also known to have many health benefits and has been extensively used in Ayurveda. Yes, you read that right! According to Ayurveda, chewing paan after meals eases digestion as it increases secretion of digestive juices, reduces bloating of stomach, relieves constipation and destroys intestinal parasites. We tell you some amazing betel leaf benefits.

Betel Leaf For Healthy Digestion

Betel leaf has properties that are carminative, gastro-protective and anti-flatulent, all of which are known to accelerate good digestion. It stimulates the release of saliva, which is the first step of digestion, as various enzymes in it break down food, making it easy to digest. But, if you don't like its strong mint-like flavour, the best way of reaping its benefits is by creating oil out of betel leaf and massaging it on your stomach, which will help the secretion of gastric juices and digestive acids. However, in the case of kids with digestive problems, the best way to make use of betel leaves is by boiling them with peppermint leaves in water. Strain the water and give it to the younger one daily for effective recovery.

Betel Leaf For Constipation

Betel leaf is packed with vitamin C that helps the body get rid of free radicals. Moreover, the antioxidants help manage the pH level of stomach. All you have to do is to soak the betel leaf in water and store it overnight. Drink the water on an empty stomach next morning or you can just chew the soaked betel leaf.

Betel Leaf Reduce Gastric Pain

Betel leaf normalises the unbalanced pH level of the stomach that gives fast relief from gastric pain, acidity and pain aroused due to bloating problem. Moreover, it also keeps the duodenum clear of dangerous free radicals as well as toxins. This makes it very efficient in improving GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease).

Back in the days, paan was consumed due to its digestive properties. Those who felt heavy and bloated post any meal and had severe constipation issues, paan used to be a saviour for them. However, it is advised to maintain a gap of at least 30 minutes between consumption of paan and your meal.

Bananas are not just delicious, but highly nutritious too. They make for a healthy snack, along with being an amazing addition to your cereal bowl, smoothie, yogurt, cake, breads, muffin or desserts. The versatile fruit can fill you with energy, helps you slim down, reduce bloating, protect your heart, prevent the development of kidney stones and relieves indigestion. Although bananas are healthy, it is said that eating, too, many of them may cause some or the other health problems. Over-consuming this humble fruit can actually reverse all the benefits that banana may have to offer. If you are a banana lover, then it is time you look at some side effects of eating, too, many of them.

According to Macrobiotic Nutritionist and Health Practitioner Shilpa Arora, "Meals should be balanced with all macro-nutrients and micro-nutrients. Bananas are loaded with fiber and wholesome nutrients; however, too much of anything is bad. Some people follow banana diet, which means eating bananas through the day. Eating just banana means that you are missing out on protein and fat that is important for your diet."

As per Parmeet Kaur, Senior Dietitian, Narayana Superspeciality Hospital, "Overeating of anything is not good for the body as long as it's part of your daily routine. Increase amount of bananas when consumed can lead to many health concerns like weight gain, increase in sugar content and sometimes stimulate headaches and sleepiness. Bananas contain the amino acid tyrosine, which the body converts into tyramine. Tyramine may trigger migraine headaches attacks and pain. Bananas are rich in starch which eventually causes tooth decay that do more damage to teeth than any other chocolate, chewing gums or candies. Banana is rich in vitamin B6 and excess consumption of banana leads to the nerve damage. People who suffer from asthma should not consume banana in their diet. It also leads to inflammation and causes allergy. Thus, breathing becomes difficult."

1. Constipation

Unripe bananas can cause constipation as they contain a lot of starch, which is tough for the body to digest well. Bananas also contain a lot of fibre pectin that draws water from the intestines. It can make you even more constipated if you are dehydrated.

2. Nutrient imbalance

Your body needs a balanced assortment of nutrients to function well. If bananas dominate your diet, your stomach has little space for other healthy foods. According to the USDA guidelines, you should get two cups of fruit per day, which equals to about large bananas. This leaves room for adding vegetables, grains, protein, et al in your diet.

3. Excessive fiber may cause digestive problems

Moderate amount of fiber is good for your digestion. Consuming large quantities of fiber can cause abdominal cramps, gas, bloating. In fact, excessive fiber may interfere with the absorption of minerals like calcium and iron.

4.Weight gain

Bananas are high-calorie foods. While banana makes a good snack, consuming more than two bananas can definitely pack up more than 300 calories. Therefore, it is better to stick to only two bananas, if you are not eating any other fruit through the day.

5. Sleepiness

Bananas contain tryptophan, the amino acid that is known to help you sleep better. Carbohydrates in bananas are said to block amino acids from entering the brain, so there is an influx of tryptophan that may lead to an increase in the production of serotonin, which is another trigger for sleepiness. It also comprises magnesium that relaxes muscles, which can be another trigger.

6. Dental health problems

Banana is a sugary fruit; even if it contains natural sugars, it does bring some harm to your dental health. One of the most common problems by eating, too, much sugar is tooth decay. The acid from eating, too, many bananas can eat away your tooth enamel, further damaging your dental health.

7. Barely contains fat

Bananas have no fat, which makes it a good fruit to lose weight; however, everyone needs some amount of fat in their diet. Dietary fat is essential to brain development and good health. So, ensure combining it with foods that have healthy fats.

Bananas are super-healthy fruits, but as they say, anything in excess is bad for your health. So, ensure having not more than two bananas a day or consult your dietitian, who can help you alter your diet plan.

Dr. Richa
Dr. Richa
BAMS, Mumbai Suburban
Dr. Anjanikumar Malempati
Dr. Anjanikumar Malempati
MBBS, ENT Specialist, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Pramod Bhimrao Patil
Dr. Pramod Bhimrao Patil
BAMS, 10 yrs, Pune
Dr. Amit Patil
Dr. Amit Patil
MD - Allopathy, Gynaecological Endoscopy Specialist Gynaecologist, 11 yrs, Pune
Dr. Akash Grampurohit
Dr. Akash Grampurohit
MS - Allopathy, ENT Specialist, Dharwad