Many children suffer from constipation and it is a frequent problem in children with autism too. Parents commonly mention constipation to me as an issue when they bring their autistic children to me for homeopathic treatment.
Signs that your child is constipated include:
- opening their bowels less than 3 times a week
- passing large stools with difficulty or with pain
- only passing little balls like rabbit droppings
- passing liquid stool with no control – this can be due to large hard stool getting stuck in the bowel and causing an obstruction, around which liquid stool may then ooze, resulting in soiling
- regular tummy aches. Some children on the autistic spectrum will be able to explain that they have abdominal pain but for many the main outward sign will be distressed behaviours. It is easy to miss that the child’s lack of focus or angry outbursts are in fact due to pain. Signs to watch for that may suggest painful constipation are gritted teeth and pressing on the abdomen.
Self help tips for managing constipation in your child with autism:
- Give them plenty of water or diluted juice to drink and have drinks available between meals
- Gradually increase the fibre in their diet. Fruit and vegetables are good sources. Eating different foods can be especially challenging for children with autism so get creative. It may work, for example, to hide pureed fruit and vegetables in food they will eat, starting with very small amounts to minimise the chance of detection! Ground flax seeds too can be added to foods they like. Flax seeds have little taste but if using these it is important to ensure your child is drinking plenty too.
- Encourage them to be physically active. A mini trampoline is often a hit!
- Consider the position they are in when trying to open their bowels. Squatting is a natural position to adopt for this and it helps to have the feet on a firm surface, so use a footstool for young children.
- Try having a regular time for sitting on the toilet, such as 20 minutes after breakfast. Autistic children in particular may respond well to having a regular routine for this.
How homeopathy can help
Homeopathic treatment may bring improvements in both constipation and any associated pain. Moreover, I find that when I treat children with constipation and autism, parents often report that as the bowel symptoms improved so did their child’s behaviour and general well-being. There are many possible homeopathic remedies for helping people with bowel problems such as constipation. However, there is a particular group of remedies I would like to mention, known as bowel nosodes.
These are homeopathic remedies prepared from cultures of gut bacteria. These were introduced in the first half of the 20th century by doctors who noticed that the bacteria in the gut are altered in states of ill health. They found that by using bowel nosodes they could trigger changes in these bacteria and so help to restore balance. Nowadays there is increasing awareness of the link between the presence of beneficial bacteria in the bowel and overall good health. Bowel nosodes continue to be extremely useful as part of homeopathic treatment for rebalancing the gut flora and restoring good bowel function. I commonly use these for my patients with autism (as well as many others).
Feedback I have had after using bowel nosodes for children with autism has included:
“His stool is now more normal (soft but formed). His eating is normal and he is very happy, sleeping and connecting well.”
“Today he is so calm and happy. I feel he responds quickly to this remedy. It seems to me like his go to remedy. I know it’s for his gut but it really calms him down in general, especially the ADHD type behaviour.”
More help with constipation for children with autism
If you are worried about your child’s bowel habits or get no improvement with self help measures, discuss your concerns with your GP. There is plenty of useful information about constipation on the website of the Children’s Bowel and Bladder Charity For advice on developing a toilet training routine for children with autism see the National Autistic society website
To learn more about my work with children with special needs, visit my main website If you would like to ask about how homeopathy might help your child, please email me or book a free introductory phone call. I look forward to hearing from you.