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Poo withholding - please please share your happy stories

(9 Posts)
Brewster Thu 16-Jun-11 20:11:45

My son has had constipation from about 6ish months old.
we were given lactulose which worked for a bit then went to see a paed consultant who gave us movicol. for a while this worked well but off and on.

Now he is almost 3 and is not constipated as his poos are soft but he with holds for up to a wee.
Last month he went a total of 7 times!! - In a month!

We used to get a lots of moaning and whining and just awfulness on 'poo day' but now it is just the night of.

But it is horrendous. It is like he is giving birth!!the screaming and crying and writhing.
He is toilet trained and has been for a year but he will not poo in the loo only in a nappy in his bed.
He is given huge amounts of praise and treats when he poos etc etc.

Keep going back to the Dr who just keeps saying he will grow out of it and the only other alternative is lots of very invasive procedures that will most likely find nothing.

I am at my wits end.
I no longer know how to help him and it tears me aprt to hear this screaming and know he is in pain.

But i cant figure out why he is in pain cos his poo is soft???!!!

Anyone?

pinguina Thu 16-Jun-11 21:20:36

I feel for you. DD1 is 2.10 and has been on Movicol since Christmas (three sachets per week). She used to be exactly like you describe your son though she used to poo every other day: whole days of anguish and holding and drama. Since Movicol things have hugely improved - no more dramas, no more pain (whether real or imagined). Have started potty training her a couple of weeks ago and she often does one in the loo, though most often it is in her pull ups.

How much Movicol is he on? Could you increase the dose? I am sorry to ask, but have you tried ignoring him completely? Perhaps he enjoys the attention. I read an article a couple of weeks ago about a similar situation and the solution was to have the child spend two days with his grandparents, who didn't give the child the attention he was used to, and instantly took to pooing in the loo.

Good luck - I know how awful it is.

Chrysanthemum5 Thu 16-Jun-11 21:32:24

DD was like this, she was only doing poos 1 or 2 times a week and they were incredibly painful. I hated sitting with her, holding her hand and telling her to breathe through the pain - just like she was in labour. I was concerned she would become scared of the sensation of doing a poo so I went to the GP who gave her movicol which actually made her poos very soft and runny - but she seemed to have little control over them. We didn't really use them for long, but it seemed to help her to know doing a poo didn't need to be sore.

Could you try distracting him when he's doing a poo? taking his mind of it? I know it is awful to see them so upset by it, and you have my sympathy. But it sounds like it is fear of doing a poo rather than the poo itself which is upsetting him.

Personally I'd stop the treats for doing a poo because it makes it a big thing in his head.

Also as he poos in his nappy but not the loo he may be afriad of the poo leaving his body. Sounds odd but some children do find it upsetting to flush away something that came out of them. There is a resource that you can find online called 'Mr Poo goes to pooland' which helps children understand where the poo goes and makes it seem 'safe'.

HTH, and unmusmnetty hugs to you all - it is a horrible situation

pecanpie Thu 16-Jun-11 21:50:15

We had poo withholding problems when we were toilet training DD. BiL introduced us to glycerine suppositories - work like a charm on 2 fronts:-
1. They immediately have the desire to get it out, so will go to the toilet.
2. They realise that going to the toilet by choice is preferable to suppositories.
I know it sounds severe and bear in mind that before this I couldn't understand why people would give kids pain relief etc using a suppository, but in extreme cases where nothing else has worked, it can really help to fix the problem.
With DD it wasn't about attention etc as pinguina suggested - she was just terrified of pooing for a while.

Brewster Thu 16-Jun-11 22:21:32

Thank you everyone.
we have tried everthing - giving him cuddles and lot sof attention, always talking about it to never discussing it and leaving him in a room alone to just get on with it.

It is hard to distract him cos like tonight it took 2 hours for him to do!!
i think the more he is distracted the less happens as then he doesnt try to push or anything.

he is now on 1 sachet a day cos we found before that more would give him lots of tummy aches but not really increase the pooing so we had days of moaning and tummy grabbing.

No joy with the grandparents as sometimes he does spend weekends with them and they shower him with attention and he wont do any poos and just keeps asking to go home then when we do pick up up to go home we have an hour of screaming in the car while he poos as he is in the car seat.....

feel we are in a no win situations.

no one - drs etc - seems to understand how awful it is.
I think next time i am going to record his screams and then take them to a Dr/consultant so they can hear what we all have to go through.

I am pregnant and dont want to have to be keep going through al this with a new baby.
and of course I dont want my little man to be going through this any longer and am so worried he is doing himself some damage holding it all in so long.

noblegiraffe Thu 16-Jun-11 22:43:10

My DS is only 22 months, but like yours has been with-holding since 6 months (since he started on solids).

Mine has lactulose, he used to have it twice a day, but we've managed to slowly get to the point where he only gets given it when he hasn't gone for a couple of days. This seems to keep the poo soft - that might be why your DSs poos are still soft after a week, because of the movicol.

What has helped in our case is that the doctor said it is important to get him into the habit of going regularly so he doesn't fear it. He has prescribed glycerin suppositories and if DS hasn't gone for 3 days, we give him one and force him to go. This isn't particularly nice, and sometimes he needs more than one as he has a trick of just expelling the suppository, but after 3 days his tummy hurts so much that he can't sleep.

Anyway, since we were prescribed the suppositories, he hasn't been allowed longer than 3 days without going and we've managed to slowly ramp down his lactulose and finally stop it. It has been longer and longer between needing suppositories too - occasionally he will not poo for a day (maybe a long car journey or a break in routine) and then we crack open the lactulose, but usually that'll be it, he'll with-hold until the third day when we 'sort him out'.

Not attempted potty training yet, I expect that will bring issues of its own.

noblegiraffe Thu 16-Jun-11 22:46:29

When I say longer and longer between suppositories, I had to give him one yesterday, but the previous one before that was at least a couple of months ago. At the start, he was on lactulose twice daily and sometimes needing a suppository every week or 2.

noblegiraffe Thu 16-Jun-11 22:53:54

By the way, I'm not sure why your doctor thinks it would need very invasive procedures to determine the cause. It is obviously psychological! Your DS doesn't want to poo, and understandably so, because when he does it is painful and unpleasant. So he with-holds, which means that he gets dreadful tummy ache, and when he can't hold it in any more, it's painful and unpleasant so a vicious cycle.

The only way to break the cycle is to stop it being painful and unpleasant by making him go regularly. Movicol to keep it soft and suppositories to make him go.

Brewster Thu 16-Jun-11 23:05:40

thank you noble that is a good suggestion.

we did use suppositories once when he was about a year old and had awful chicken pox as well as not having been for ages and ages. the firts one worked within an hour but a few weeks later when anotehr was needed it took 2 days and two suppositoies.

we are thinking of revisiting the lactulose and maybe trying to get hin to siton the loo at the same time every day to get a routine but usually when you even suggest a poo - nappy or loo he freaks out and says no no no.

we have tried poo goes to poo land. flushes away. other kiddy thnsg hwre they have loos or poo. have asked nursery to talk about it.
he sees me go.
he happily watches me empty his nappy into the loo and flushes it himself.we are trying now to explain that food has to come out so he has to poo etc etc.

he is such a clever boy but i just seem to have run out of ways to explain it - - - i think he does understand but as you say he is just terrified to go.
afterwards he always says his tummy is better but will never admit that doing a poo is good!

I totally agree that it is psycological and have talked to dr about this and she again jsut said he would grow out of it and continue with the praise and treats etc... but we cant go on like this for another year or two.

i have looked into child psychologists to see if they could explain in better or do some kind of play therapy but it all sounds so scary for him as you first have to go through a psychiatriast etc.

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