Constipation is an issue that I address quite frequently in my practice. It is a very common problem in our society in both children and adults. The ideal situation is to have a bowel movement after each meal. But that may seem like a lot so what I encourage for patients in my practice is to have at least two bowel movements per day. For many people, just having one bowel movement a day is good and for children on the spectrum, having more frequent bowel movements can be challenging.
As I have gone over in previous videos, there are many issues that surround constipation with kids on the spectrum. A very common issue is the child who has the urgency to have a bowel movement but they have a difficult time passing it. It may be that their stool is too hard to pass. One very easy remedy could be simply to make sure they get more fluids which will get more fluid into the digestive tract making the stool softer and easier to pass. Gluten free fiber supplements, like Tru Fiber, can add bulk to the stool which will also make them easier to pass. And if you add fiber, you definitely want to increase water intake as well.
Slippery elm is an herbal remedy that can aid in constipation. Slippery elm, as its name implies, makes the stool slippery and therefore easier to pass. This also increases mucous production in the digestive tract which also makes the lining of the gut slippery to further aid in the elimination of stool. Slippery elm is easy to find, available at most health food stores, in both bulk powder and capsule forms. You can add slippery elm to juice or food to make it easier to give. Slippery elm is very safe as well, I have taken slippery elm myself and have many patients of all ages who take it.
Slippery elm is very effective, but there is no specific dose set for weight or age. So when using slippery elm in capsule form, in most cases start with one or two capsules, maybe 3. The range of my patients who are between the ages of 4 and 8 have been anywhere from 3 to 6 slippery elms capsules a day just to make their stool easier to pass. So if you have a child who does have the sensation to have a bowel movement but may just have a bit of constipation, add more fluids and try slippery elm as an option to help.