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Glycerin Suppositories for Infants

Glycerin Suppositories for Infants

Glycerin suppositories for infants provide an effective way to relieve constipation. This method of treatment involves inserting the medication through the rectum area, to promote bowel movement.
Nicks J
Last Updated: Mar 26, 2018
Glycerin suppositories is one of the many treatment options for constipation. It is observed that newborns are unaware about any way to initiate a bowel movement and so in such a scenario glycerin suppositories may come in handy. When used as instructed, it can provide effective relief from constipation.
What are Glycerin Suppositories?

This is a laxative but unlike other laxatives, glycerin suppositories are not to be taken orally (by mouth). Suppositories are basically missile shaped medications (that contain glycerin) around ½-1 inch long that are completely pushed into the rectum manually with fingers. Glycerin cannot withstand the existing heat inside the rectal area and therefore turns into viscous liquid. This helps to soften the hard stools, thus making it easier to eliminate them. Glycerin stimulates bowel movement and also tries to extract water from the intestine, to soften the fecal matter. You may notice your baby pooping immediately after pushing the suppository. However, in some cases, moms had to wait for 5-10 minutes (after insertion) before they saw their baby defecating.

A point to note here is that glycerine suppository is not a solution for infrequent bowel movement in breastfed babies. Absence of bowel movement in breastfed babies for more than a week (upto 10 days) is quite normal. As long as the baby is cheerful, does not show a distended stomach and is not passing dry and hard stools, irregular bowel habits is not a cause for concern. So, in such circumstances, one should not be in a hurry of using glycerin suppositories.
How to Use

You need to know the right way of using these suppositories. In fact, incorrect usage will not cause any bowel movement, leaving the baby in severe pain. Here's how you should go about it.
  • The suppository should never be inserted when the infant is in standing position. Ensure that the infant is lying down on the back.
  • Now, remove the suppository from the pack and slowly insert this medication into the rectum using the fingers (wear gloves).
  • When inserting the medication, ensure that the pointed end of the glycerin suppository is facing the rectal area. Also, to minimize pain during insertion, apply some petroleum jelly on the pointed area. A gentle push is more than enough to put the suppository into the rectal area.
  • Once you place the suppository in the rectal area, immediately move your infant's legs to and fro similar to a pedaling motion. This method initiates movement of rectal muscles, thereby encouraging bowel evacuation.
  • Massaging the stomach area that is just below the belly button can also assist in stool removal. After some time the infant may experience bowel movement, which may help to flush off the hardened stool.
Side Effects

These rectal laxatives do cause few side effects but in most cases they are not a cause for concern. It is observed that the infant cries when the suppository is inserted into the rectum. This happens because the suppository may trigger a painful burning sensation in the rectum area. In some cases the delicate rectum area may not be able to tolerate insertion of any foreign object, leading to rectum bleeding. This internal bleeding is seen in the form of blood in the stools, during bowel evacuation. Although glycerin suppositories help to get rid of hard stools, the effect of this rectal laxative continues in the form of diarrhea that may last for quite some time.

Glycerin suppositories come in different sizes and one simply cannot insert the adult size suppository into the infant's rectum. Consultation with a doctor is very important, otherwise wrong dosage may bring severe side effects. Generally, the glycerin suppository prescribed for infants weighs around 1.26 g and contains approximately 0.90 ml of glycerin. Usually, adult sized glycerin suppositories are cut to quarter its length. On the other hand, pediatric suppositories are cut to half its length and then inserted into the rectum.
Keep in mind that glycerin suppositories is the last resort to overcome constipation in infants. For instance, infants are commonly given prune juice to relieve symptoms of constipation. The dosage may vary depending upon how old is your baby. If your baby is in the age group of 1-3, a glass of prune juice is necessary whereas a 6 month old baby may require just a tablespoon of prune juice. Feeding your infant with a teaspoon of powdered psyllium husk can also help to ease bowel movement. As always talk to a pediatric before using any of these constipation remedies. You can also introduce pureed fruits into your infant's comfort food such as rice cereals in order to prevent and ease constipation. When all these options fail to eliminate hardened deposits of fecal matter, use of glycerin suppositories is recommended. Also, frequent usage of suppositories has to be avoided to be on the safer side. To be more specific, these suppositories are for occasional use, lest your infant may become dependent on these stool softeners for bowel evacuation.
Disclaimer:The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.