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Can Cow’s Milk Cause Constipation in Toddlers?

If you think your child is constipated because of cow’s milk, you’re probably right. Cow’s milk is definitely one of the culprits causing chronic constipation. Constipation is most commonly caused by a diet low in fiber or dehydration, but it can also be caused by Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA).

How Does Cow’s Milk Cause Constipation?

One of the most common causes of constipation in children is food intolerance. When children lack the specific enzymes required to digest a food, it is not properly broken down and digested. It begins to ferment in children’s guts, causing an increase in “bad” bacteria. The accumulation of bad bacteria in our gut can cause microbiome imbalance and lead to problems such as constipation.

Although diarrhea is the most common gastrointestinal symptom of cow’s milk protein intolerance in children, studies (1) (2) have shown that chronic constipation can also be one of the gastrointestinal symptoms.

cow milk

What are the other common symptoms of CMPA?

These are the most common symptoms in children with CMPA, according to Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (2).

Skin:

Lungs:

Intestine:

Should I be concerned about my child’s Cow’s Milk Protein Allergy (CMPA)?

Yes, because your child with CMPA may experience slow or no weight gain. If your child is having difficulty breathing, turning pale/blue, swelling of the lips/tongue, or fainting, please seek immediate medical attention.

What to do if my child has CMPA?

Follow a cow’s milk protein-free diet. Replace cow’s milk with cow’s milk substitutes, such as Rice Formula*, which also contains a healthy amount of vitamins and minerals.

*Please keep in mind that the Rice Milk should adhere to all applicable EU regulations as well as international nutritional and food safety guidelines and is totally safe for regular consumption for children.

Check to see if your child is constipated.

Read more about other formula options for children with CMPA.

References
https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199810153391602
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9770556/
http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/cows-milk-protein-allergy/