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Could this be more than just constipation?

(6 Posts)
ilikesunshine Wed 26-Aug-09 15:09:02

DS (2) has always had problems pooing, on and off throughout his life, but recently his constipation has got to ridiculous levels. He spends half his waking time straining or getting incredibly upset about a poo coming, and only usually produces anything about once every 3 days. I'm giving him lactulose at the moment, which seems to help bring on the poo, but doesn't seem to have any effect on the levels of distress he experiences. Has anybody else had any experience of this. Could it be something more than just constipation?

ShowOfHands Wed 26-Aug-09 15:55:50

Often the groaning and straining you describe is a child trying to hold on as opposed to trying to go. There's a great book here that most libraries stock. It really helped us when dd was very stressed and upset at about 19 months, grunting, groaning, crying, seeming to be constipated and we read this and realised she was actually frightened to go. Went about every 3 days when she couldn't hold on any longer.

She's 2.3 and fine now but it took the right dose of lactulose and some coaxing to sort her out.

Good thing was, she was so good at holding on that when it came to it potty training was very, very easy indeed!

ilikesunshine Thu 27-Aug-09 14:41:05

Thanks for that, Showofhands, will definitely try to get hold of that book. How did you work out that DD was holding on rather than trying to go? Do you think that at just 2 DS could be frightened of pooing? When he does finally manage to go, he lets out an ear-piercing shriek as if it's really painful, but his stools don't seem that hard (sorry to be so graphic!) It's just all so distressing sad.

ShowOfHands Thu 27-Aug-09 15:23:36

We knew she wasn't constipated as not only did she fit the pattern in the book almost to the letter, the poo when it came was not hard at all. She did have one instance of actual constipation which seemed to start the whole thing off as she found it painful at the time and then refused to go. We at first thought the constipation had just become an ongoing problem but on reading the book realised that her poo was normal. Like I say dd was 19mo and I'm certain she was frightened of pooing. She also shrieked and shook when she finally went.

An additional problem is that once they've started hanging on then their bowel stretches to accommodate and therefore holds more poo and the slackened bowel means they don't feel the need to go in the same way, thereby going less frequently and the cycle continues. The lactulose was needed to regulate her and allow her bowel to shrink back down. Like I say, she's fine now, potty trained and goes without any problem at all. It did take a few months to fix it though. I remember well the constant worrying about poo. Number 78 on the list of things you never thought you'd spend so much time obsessing about after having a child.

Kittle Fri 28-Aug-09 09:52:09

Hello, my ds has been withholding his poo for several months now and it's hell for all of us. He poos once a week if that. Scarily, it's even longer in some children, apparently.

Could anyone please advise me: is there any help available beyond the GP? They've given us Lactulose, Senna and Movicol. But the problem is all in ds's head.

Anthony Cohn, who wrote that very good book that ShowOfHands mentioned, actually works near us in both NHS and private hospitals. I'm close to emailing him and asking for a private consultation! Or should I see if we can get a referral from our GP? Has anyone gone down the consultant/clinic route?

There's a section in that book where he says that he works with parents of children with heart defects. In their support group, all the parents talk about the problems of withholding. They are managing to cope with the heart problems. But the withholding is too much for them. That bit makes me want to cry. It really is hell to see your child screaming night after night. If anyone can help, I'd be really grateful x

ShowOfHands Fri 28-Aug-09 22:35:00

Oh Kittle.

Start a new thread my lovely. There are a lot of MNers who have had children who withold to the extent your ds is and will be able to offer you some wise words.

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