Dairy and Constipation?

Updated on January 11, 2011
J.C. asks from Eagle River, AK
12 answers

My son is 7. For the past couple of months he kept saying his tummy hurt, around a 4 on a scale from 1-10. I took him to the doctor and x-rays showed 3 areas of compaction in his tummy. The doctor said there was a lot more poop than she even expected. We are cleansing him with a prescriptions laxative. She said to avoid dairy for now. Has anyone heard of a dairy intolerance causing constipation? IF you have this can you still enjoy some dairy from time to time? We switched him to almond milk, but he loves things like cheese and yogurt, is there a good substitute for those?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone. I did some research and found that some people just have a hard time digesting dairy which can lead to blockage. We are going to give him no dairy until he is cleaned out, and than limit his intake. I appreciate you all taking the time to respond. :)

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answers from Seattle on

Yes, and yes. I drink rice milk and it is very good. Give him a long time before you let him have any of those luscious foods. He is young and maybe able to eat those food again. Visit the local health food store and see if there are substitutes.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I know cheese can be constipating, but I have not heard that milk is. I would increase water consumption, fresh fruit and veggies, whole wheat breads and other things he likes that have a lot of fiber.

Here's a list of food/fiber content:

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answers from Pittsburgh on

My son is 7 also, and we have had constipation issues since he was 18months old. And yes, dairy did play a role. He also loves yogurt and cheese, and for a long time, he had virtually none. He is also a huge milk drinker, and we did vanilla soy for a long time. He does drink milk now, I just try to limit dairy as much as I can, which is harder now that he is older. I mean, who doesn't want thier child to choose yogurt or cheese over chips and jello? Try to get him LOTS of fiber, that helps my son. And if he hasn't gone in a few days, we start putting miralax back in his morning drinks (doctor approved;) If you need a list of high fiber foods, let me know, I had trouble figuring out what was good. It's a tough issue to deal with.... hang in there!!!



answers from Seattle on

Although most of the time dairy intolerance presents as diarrhea, sometimes it presents as constipation. So, yes, that could be a problem. Most of the time, kiddos grow out of it by the time they are 7.

I'm investigating this issue for my 14 month old. And, yes, my dd eats tons of fiber, prunes, sweet potatoes, beans, peas, etc. and so on. She still has hard poops. I'm considering other types of milk, starting with goat. If that doesn't work, I'll try soy or almond, although soy could cause its own issues. For my dd, I need to make sure whatever type of milk she gets is not lowfat, which is why goat milk might be the answer. (They need lots of fat before the age of 2 for brain development.)

I haven't broached the yogurt/cheese issue yet, although I know there are other alternatives (soy) for those, as well. I don't know if soy cheese is any good, or if a kid would eat it. (I don't think I'd want to.) If ice cream is a big treat, though, try Tofutti. It's non-dairy and still yummy!



answers from Seattle on

Dairy foods can definitely cause constipation, as well as many other problems. There are tons of alternatives. I'm vegan and my kids are pretty close to it and we're all extremely well-fed and healthy...you just need to do some research and keep an open mind and you'll find a whole world of new, delicious, nutritious foods out there. Good luck and have fun exploring all of the alternatives :-)


answers from Redding on

My daughter went through something similar. We didn't go so far to test for lactose intollerance because the doctors were pretty certain that is was it was. We treated it more like a dairy overload intollerance. She could have cheese, yogurt, etc...but if she had that with milk or milk twice in a day she would have issues. So we switched to lactose free milk and left her other dairy consumptions normal. It worked for us...after several months we reintroduced regular milk to her diet and limit her to one 8 oz glass per day and she is fine.



answers from Chicago on

My daughter would get constipated when she drank too much milk, and then add in the yogurt and cheese she ate. We cut down the amount of milk and she was fine. Last week my youngest started saying her tummy hurt and had trouble going to the bathroom so I watched how much she drank and gave her some Juicy Juice (worked with my older one). She's fine now--and she loves yogurt and cheese.



answers from Atlanta on

Hi J.,

Dairy does constipate but once he is cleaned out and his intestinal tract is healthy (there are ways to do that) you can add dairy back unless he has a specific allergy. There are not as many people with dairy problems as most people think. I grew up believing I could not eat dairy. My daughter was diagnosed with lactose intolerance. Both of us have absolutely no problems with organic milk products. The antibiotics and the hormones in most dairy products are what cause the majority (not all) of the problems.

We love milk too...In the natural community, it would probably considered my vice, lol. If you would like some info on how to get the intestinal tract healthy, feel free to Pm me. I'd love to help.





answers from Portland on

My daughter has the same problem. We just add a dose of Miralax to her milk every morning, then she can eat as she pleases. The dr says it is perectly safe and non habit forming. She has been on and off of it for the last 7 years. When we don't have it, we just give her rice milk, but still allow other dairies (just no milk).



answers from New York on

Yes!! My son was constipated from day one and much more irritable than other babies. I took him off dairy at almost 2 1/2 and it made a world of a difference. You could experiment with yogurt and cheese but I found for my son, no diary is best.



answers from Chicago on

Did she ask about his water/fluid intake? Did she ask about his consumption of fruits and vegetables? I'd be more concerned about those two things before the milk issue.

The dairy avoidance might have to do more with the laxative than it would the constipation. As you know the laxative will get things moving along and dairy might exacerbate the issue.

At any rate, I hope your son is feeling better soon. Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

Yep, milk and cheese can do that. How about reducing dairy intake and increasing fiber-rich foods like oatmeal, salad and apples? We LOVE milk in the house but we also eat a lot of those foods.

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