Constipation in children is a common complaint but can be miserable, painful, and uncomfortable nonetheless. But can constipation cause diaper rash too?
In this blog post, we will explore the link between constipation and diaper rash, and offer some tips for preventing both problems.
How Often Do Newborns Have Bowel Movements?
Young babies have frequent bowel movements during the first few weeks. After that, they typically have two to five bowel movements per day. However, after each feeding, they may have a bowel movement. As older babies start to eat more solid foods, the number of bowel movements may go down.
If your newborn is having fewer than two bowel movements per day or if they are hard and dry, the situation is urgent. Contact doctor or your baby’s healthcare provider immediately if this is the case.
Hard, dry stools can be painful and may cause your newborn to strain. If your newborn is straining, it may also have blood in her stool. Blood in the stool can be a sign of an underlying medical condition and should be evaluated by your baby’s healthcare provider.
What Are the Signs of Constipation in Infants?
Most people think of constipation as a problem that only adults experience, but it can also occur in infants. In fact, constipation is one of the most common gastrointestinal problems that infants experience.
If you are concerned that your infant may be constipated, there are a few signs to look for:
- You may notice that they have difficulty passing stools.
- Fussier than usual and poor sleep
- Accompanied by pain, you may also see blood in their stool.
- Your infant may be constipated if they are having fewer bowel movements than usual.
- If your infant’s stool is hard, dry, or lumpy, this may be a sign of constipation. The stool may also be difficult to pass.
- A bloated or full feeling in the abdomen can also be a sign of constipation.
When to Call a Doctor
If your baby is constipated but otherwise healthy and happy, you may want to try some home treatment first. However, if your baby is experiencing stomach pain, vomiting, or blood in the stool or in the diaper, it is important to call your baby’s healthcare provider. These could be signs of a more serious problem and require medical attention.
What Causes Constipation in Babies?
The most common cause of constipation is usually not getting enough fiber. This can happen if they’re not eating enough fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
The main reason fiber helps prevent constipation is that it adds bulk to your stool. This bulk makes stools softer and easier to pass. Fiber also keeps water in your stool, which prevents hard, dry stools that are difficult to pass.
Another possibility is not drinking enough fluids. If your baby doesn’t drink enough fluids, her body will reduce the water content of her stool, making it harder and more difficult to pass. So, make sure your baby’s getting plenty of water every day.
Finally, starting solids can sometimes lead to constipation. When your baby starts eating solids, they may strain more and produce harder stools. This is because their developing digestive system isn’t used to processing these new foods yet.
Additionally, some of the foods that are common causes of constipation, like rice and bananas, are often introduced as a baby’s first foods. So it’s not surprising that starting solids can lead to constipation.
How to Treat and Prevent Constipation in Babies
Many children experience constipation. There are a few things you can do to help treat and prevent constipation in your baby.
One of the ways that exercise can stimulate a baby’s bowels is by helping to move their legs. Doing this helps to push waste material through the intestines and out of the body.
Additionally, when constipated, most babies often feel uncomfortable and may cry or fuss. Exercise can help to soothe and calm them.
Finally, regular exercise can also help to prevent constipation in most babies by keeping their bowels moving regularly. This is especially important for those who are formula-fed or have a family history of constipation.
Warm water baths relax the abdominal muscles and help stop straining. This can provide some relief from constipation.
Additionally, warm water can help prevent constipation by keeping the stool soft. If your baby is having trouble passing stool, a warm bath may be helpful.
Normal Stool Routine
If your child is already toilet trained, it’s important to set up a regular stool routine to prevent constipation.
Avoid giving them any foods that are known to be constipating. This includes things like cow’s milk, cheese, and bananas.
Instead, give your baby formula that has been thinned with water or breast milk. You can also give them good sources of fiber, like prunes, pear juice, and oatmeal. These will help to keep them regular.
Can Constipation Cause Nappy Rash?
Yes. Parents of babies know that when constipated, a child develops diaper rash. The reasons are many and include the following:
- The baby’s stool in his diaper is hard and dry which leads to a lack of lubrication in the bowel movement. This causes irritation and inflammation as fecal matter sits on the skin for too long.
- If your baby is also drooling a lot, this can make the irritation worse.
- Irregular bowel movement and constipation can lead to skin irritations and even burns in the diaper region. Hard stools in their diapers can rub against the skin and cause irritation.
- The act of straining to pass a hard stool can also cause skin trauma.
- A build-up of bacteria from sitting in a soiled diaper for too long can lead to infection.
What Can Be Mistaken for Diaper Rash?
There are a few things that can be mistaken for diaper rash, so it’s important to be aware of them. Yeast infection, impetigo, allergic reaction and psoriasis can all cause symptoms that look like diaper rash.
Yeast infections can cause redness, itching, and burning. If the rash is accompanied by a yeast infection, you may also notice white patches on the skin.
However, it is also possible that a yeast infection can lead to a diaper rash. It is important to determine the exact condition. Lab testing might be ordered by your own physician or by your child’s healthcare provider.
Impetigo is a bacterial infection that can cause open sores and blisters. These sores can be mistaken for diaper rash, but they are usually larger and more painful.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition and symptoms can include the bright red, scaly patches. These patches can be mistaken for diaper rash, but they are usually larger and more widespread.
If your baby has never had an allergic reaction to a particular food or substance before, they may develop a rash after coming into contact with it. The rash might look similar to a diaper rash.
How to Treat and Prevent Diaper Rash When Your Baby Is Constipated
Diaper rash is most common in babies who are between six months and one year old. And a variety of factors can cause a diaper rash. Fortunately, most diaper rashes are treatable at home.
Here are a few things you can do to prevent and treat diaper rash caused by constipation when it happens.
- Frequent diaper changes is often the most common advice given to mothers to treat and prevent diaper rashes. If your baby has a wet or soiled disposable diaper, change diapers as soon as possible. Leaving soiled or wet diapers on too long can irritate your baby’s skin and make the diaper rash worse.
- When you change diapers often, it will limit skin contact with dirty diapers.
- If your baby has a diaper rash, you should clean the affected area, skin folds and genital area with warm water and cotton ball or diaper wipes. Be sure to use wipes that are alcohol-free on the irritated skin of your child. You may also want to try a warm bath to soothe the diaper rash.
- If you’re using soft cloth diapers, avoid using plastic pants. Instead, use cloth diaper covers that “breathe.” Wool soakers are also a good option. If you must use disposable diapers, choose one with breathable sides and are highly absorbent.
- For disposable diapers, try to keep the baby’s skin drier in the diaper area by changing them more often. You can also use cloth diapers, which tend to be less irritating.
- If your child has a bacterial infection on the child’s skin, you’ll want to change wet diapers and start cleaning the diaper area with warm water and very mild soap. If the diaper rash is particularly bad, you may also need to use an antibiotic ointment.
- If your child has a diaper rash, the first step is to start using a diaper rash treatment cream with zinc oxide or petroleum jelly before putting on a new diaper. This will help soothe and protect the baby’s diaper area as well as prevent diaper rash from getting worse.
- If the diaper rash of your child is raw, bright red and bleeds, seek care advice and treatment from a professional immediately.
Constipation is pretty common in babies who are not getting enough fiber and liquids in their diet. This can be remedied quite easily with a few adjustments to a baby’s diet and daily routine.
This condition can also lead to diaper rash. As parents, preventing diaper rash is important. But when it happens, don’t panic. You can try home treatment and change your diapering routine to treat the diaper rash symptoms.