It is very normal for toddlers to pass gas much like adults do on a daily basis, especially after meals. However, an excess of gas or strong odors could be signs of constipation or another issue with the child’s gastrointestinal system.
This article will explore why extreme gassiness or gas with an unusually strong odor could be symptoms of constipation or a more serious condition in toddlers.
If a toddler is passing more gas than usual, it could be due to something that the child ate or activities engaged in during the day. This phenomenon is also often caused by swallowing air while eating or drinking carbonated beverages. However, another cause of excessive gas is constipation.
Constipation is an abnormality of the bowel movements that causes a toddler to pass infrequent stools or have difficulty passing stools. Since toddlers are becoming more able to voluntarily hold their bowel movements, some children may hold bowel movements back and cause a stool build-up. This commonly happens if a child prefers to keep playing rather than take time to go to the bathroom or out of a fear of using public restrooms.
Similarly, gas that a toddler passes with an unusually strong odor could also indicate that the child is constipated. However, strong-smelling gas could also indicate an array of other causes and issues that need to be addressed.
When a toddler’s body is unable to absorb the nutrients it needs from food, this could lead to foul-smelling gas. This type of malabsorption typically results from conditions like celiac disease, lactose intolerance, and food allergies. A bacterial or viral infection of the intestines can also interfere with digestion and cause gas and stools to smell unusual.
Certain medications and supplements that toddlers are given could change the way gas and stools smell also. For example, getting more than the recommended dosage of a single vitamin or multi-vitamin or taking antibiotics for an infection can create different odors.
In addition to constipation, gas in toddlers could be caused by medical issues that have no definite cause but can still be identified nonetheless. These types of conditions include heartburn and ulcers. Irritable bowel syndrome, abdominal migraine, and functional dyspepsia are other more serious conditions that can have symptoms of excess of smelly gas.
Passing extra gas that has a foul smell may be accompanied by constipation and many other symptoms, such as soft stool, nausea, and bloating. However, parents should seek medical attention for a toddler that has blood in the stool, stool discoloration, fever, or chills.
However, most gas in toddlers is harmless and requires no medical treatment at all. Over-the-counter solutions like PediaCare’s Gas Relief Drops may help to alleviate gas pain and symptoms quickly and easily without a prescription. While unpleasant to one’s sense of smell, passing gas in a healthy and socially acceptable way is an important skill for parents to teach toddlers from a very early age.
In this parental guide to gas relief, PediaCare provides resources for parents seeking answers for their child's special circumstances. Medicine made for kids, helps getting better easier!