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dd's persistant constipation - am desperate to help her

(20 Posts)
StealthMouse Fri 28-Jan-05 14:15:02

My dd has always suffered from constipation, when I say always I think probably from as soon as she started eating 'normal' food so around 9mnths (ish!)

She was a late walker and never crawled so initially I put it down to lack of movement not helping the situation as I'd heard of that (and I'd read on here others with similar problem).

At times she had prescribed lactulose, other times was advised to give prunes etc

so moving forward to today - dd is two & a half. She is more often than not constipated, to the point of having sweats, being lathargic, tired grumpy, won't sit on her bottom and obviously in discomfort then in excrutiating pain whilst trying - wailing, sobbing etc she won't let you try and help her cos she knows it's going to hurt. I have on frequent occassions literally had to try and pull it out of her bottom because it's been stuck half out for so long. I've resorted to warm baths on occassions also to try and help it out.

I can't potty train and I'm assuming this is down to the fact that she associates going to the toilet with pain.

A few weeks ago we were prescribed lactulose again, when I aired my concern that I didn't want her to have to take the stuff long term the dr simply replied that it would do her no harm as it's not absorbed into the body and simply sits in the bowel - I think he missed my point [angy]

Now, she eats plenty of fruit and veg and practically lives on raisens, she drinks plenty and often asks for drinks too. I am at my wits end and my heart breaks for her that I can't seem to help her - does anyone have any ideas what I could do or why she suffers like this? I thought about seeing if we could get referred to some sort of dietician or something?? I don't really know where to start, I thought about arrange a visit with my HV (haven't seen her for 2 years) but even then I don't know what she could do/say.

I really am desperate, it's awful to see a two year old in such regular discomfort and pain. I think this is probably quite long - sorry - and thanks if you're still reading.

My main thought is - surely this is not normal?!?! there must be something wrong? something she's eating or something to do with her digestive(?) system?? I don't know... heeelp

Oh and the other thing is - when I ask gp's and her father to think about what they are feeding her when she vists them they all seem to completely ignore me and she comes back with storeis of cakes/chocolate/processed food/chips etc (she is not a small child and is way up in the 90-something centile)

I am so worried about her long-term health and the possible implications of this persistant problem

Desperately seeking advice - maybe I am just neurotic? but I don't think so, I'm quite laid back about life generally

Thanks so much for still reading,
mouse xx

lou33 Fri 28-Jan-05 14:21:48

stealthmouse, can i ask why you don't want her to have lactulose?

ds2 suffers from chronic persistent constipation, has done since birth. There has been a discussion about this over the last few days in the nappies section. If you search it out you may find somethign helpful.

Lactulaose, senokot, picosulphate, movicol, are all on there

Millie1 Fri 28-Jan-05 14:31:02

Stealthmouse ... we've just discovered that our 3 yr old DS1 who poos every day seems to be suffering constipation. We saw a paediatrician due to him complaining of tummy pains and persistently runny/soft poos. He x-rayed abdomen and lo and behold his large bowel is full. He's on Movicol at the moment and then will go on lactulose for approx 1 month to retrain his bowel. What I'm wondering is whether you should ask for paediatric referral and get your DD checked out properly (our GP was a bit offhand with us about DS) ... maybe she too needs a good clear out and to start again. If her faeces are regularly so hard she may be suffering from impactation.

HTH - just my sixpence worth tho' I'm certainly not an expert!

scotlou Fri 28-Jan-05 14:40:11

StealthMouse, if you read the posts on MN it would appear that it is quite common - particularly seems to be girls around 2!!! My DD is also nearly 2 1//2 and always constipated - gets very upset when a poo is building - shouts "sore sore" pointing at her tummy - then screams when she actually tries to go. Like yours she has been prescribed lactulose and senokot - although neither seem to do any good. However, I have been told that lactulose will not casue any harm with longterm use and that they need to be on it for a while for anything to happen. It is a "poo softener" and the child needs to take it regularly for it to work. Senokot is used more to get things going - my GP does not like it and stopped it with my dd as she still hadn't done anything after 8 days! She's now got a paed appointment. I just want her checked to make sure nothing is wrong - and if all is OK I will persevere with lactulose - may also try Movicol as someone else said it was quite good. I would suggest you keep pestering your GP to get her referred to a paed and that way at least you will find out if there is anything wrong. I think they must grow out of it since I haven't read many posts where the child is much older than 2 (apart from Lou33 - think her DS2 is older).

phatcat Fri 28-Jan-05 14:46:21

StealthMouse - have you seen this old thread - there's loads of advice and other people's stories here - I bookmarked it a while ago as ds gets occasional constipation - and found loads of helpful suggestions. For us though it's simply been a matter of getting more fibre in him (not easy as he's a big fruit / veg avoider). I've found Tropicana Fibre juice makes the biggest difference to him and thankfully he likes it.

It does sound like it's a bit more complicated for your dd though. If you're sure she's eating enough dietary fibre and drinking enough fluids I'd definitely try and get a paed referral and investigate what's going on in her digestive system. HTH

StealthMouse Fri 28-Jan-05 15:14:26

Thanks for your replies.

Lou - I have no objection with her taking lactulose, it's just that I don't want her to have to take it all her life iykwim.

We have a massive bottle of lactulose at the moment that she is to take for a few months to get her reguular again (like your situation Millie I guess).

I'm going ot nip off and read that thread you linked to now - thanks

ps. wouldn't have noticed the other threads as never read the nappies section, that'll teach me

starlover Fri 28-Jan-05 16:12:24

stealthmouse.. have you had her tested for food intolerances?
My cousin suffered from constipation for an incredibly long time and was constantly being prescribed laxatives.
My aunt eventually got tired of this and decided to look at alternative treatments... she actually started off with an osteopath and it was there that they suggested getting tested for intolerances.
It emerged that she was intolerant to wheat and dairy!
Anyway, they put her on a new diet and the problems cleared up almost immediately! it was honestly amazing the difference it made.
She can still have small amounts of dairy and wheat now and then, as it is an intolerance rather than an allergy... but if she has too much she tends to feel quite poorly again.

It might be worth checking this out... doesn't hurt to try all possible avenues!

StealthMouse Fri 28-Jan-05 16:20:57

starlover - that was the lines I was thinking of but I don't know where to start.

In my very limited experience of those types of things, it makes such a difference. (used to work with a bloke who suffered terribly turned out it was milk been fine ever since!)

ChicPea Fri 28-Jan-05 16:28:11

Mouse, you are not neurotic just concerned with something that you don't think is normal. I have coeliac disease and now follow a gluten free diet. Have done so for the past 13 years. Prior to that I ate a "normal" diet and had severe constipation. It was very unpleasant and I did think at one stage I was going mad as I had more energy fasting on fruit and veg juice for 2 weeks - yes! - than I did eating normally, ie meusli for brek, cheese on toast or sandwich for lunch, supper in the evening. I was eating no-no's. My late grandmother lived on prunes, Fibogel and normal foods as she had coeliac disease which is hereditary. The doctors never investigated but I know from her symptoms and mine that she did have it. She had to have surgery as a result and probably lived on Fibogel/Prunes for about 20 years. So you are right to want to take steps to avoid long term use of laxatives. You need to work out what is making her constipated - keep a food diary - and you need support from your family. I would go back to basics to begin with: meat, fish, fruit, veg and dairy for a week to clear her system. Then introduce a potato for two days and see if that constipates her. If it does, avoid potatoes and bread, wheat, etc and go back to original list so that her system clears and then try bread or pasta. See how that affects her. My DD at eight months had potato over two days (with other things) but it was the first time I introduced it (I weaned her at 6 months). She was constipated for two days with, as you said, the poo partly out so I had to help it along. She cried alot and was in alot of pain. It really was horrid.
I hope the above has been some help. I would also speak to a health professional about intolerances. They may not be intrested as your DD is high on the centile charts and is therefore thriving but do persue it. You can learn an awful lot by keeping food diaries.

StealthMouse Fri 28-Jan-05 16:31:40

Chicpea thank you soo much.

I will try the food diary - that way I might actually get the rest of dd's family to listen to me - they make me so mad

lou33 Fri 28-Jan-05 16:37:54

i would also suggest maybe getting a referral to a dietician to see if they can suggest anything. Good luck

deegward Fri 28-Jan-05 17:11:27

I am sure if you have looked at previous thread, you will see my ds1 sufferedd really vadly from this from 18mths to 3.5 yrs. At one point he was only doing a poo once a month, and could be sick just from the fact that there was no more room in his body. You could feel the poo in his tummy.

Lactolose and Senna only worked when we were upt to 20 spoonfuls a day.

I took ds1 to a homeopath, and seh prescribed opium, and we have never looked back. Ds1 I think will always be prone to constipation, but now goes at least every 2-3 days, which for him is amazing. He is now nearly 5

If you want to talk, get in touch. I really do know what you are going through

geogteach Fri 28-Jan-05 19:41:59

Just been discharged from pead for DD (19 months )with this. Lactulose etc softened but didn't make more regualr, then tried dairy free trial and hey presto 1 - 2 pain free poohs a day which after a year of screaming with pain whenever she tried to open her bowel is great. As its an intolerence have been told she will more than likely grow out of it. She has no milk or yoghurt but manages an occasional bit of cheese.

Amanda3266 Fri 28-Jan-05 19:48:22

Hi mouse,

Read all the other excellent replies - can't really add anything else much. Just wondered who is prescribing the Lactulose - if it's just your GP then perhaps ask him/her if the local hospital have a constipation clinic she can be referred to.

As for her weight - give your HV a ring and see if she can see her to check her height and weight - she might also have some advice for the constipation and know what's available locally in way of support.


happymerryberries Fri 28-Jan-05 19:52:11

SM, you have my symathy as I went through something very similar with dd. I have to say that usinf lactulose can be a very good idea as it softens the poo and makes it easier for them to go to the loo. Eventually it doesn't hurt as much, but you do need to use it for a reasonable time.

That said it doesn't mean that she will be on it all her life! Dd is now 8 and is abosolutly normal. She was constipated from about 20 months until she was potty trained at 3. With her it was a psycholgical thing, no bowel proeblms are masses of fruit and veg, drank lots of wather but she just decided that as it had hurt her once it would hurt her again, so she wouldn't go. She would strain not to go. And the hours of crying were awful for us all. And I wanted to swing at the next person who told me to give her orange juice, the child was almost orange!!

In the end it waspotty training that cured her. With her it became a control issue and when she was in control she was happy and went. We used lactulose, and soft rewards and it all resolved at about 3. At 8 she is quite normal.

It can get better and I hope that it does soon.

janeybops Fri 28-Jan-05 20:11:04

I am currently keeping dd off of chocolate. Been week and half so far. It took her 8 days to do a normal sized poo and then 2 days later about a foot long!!!!! That was yesterday so am waiting to see if we now get the week long wait for the next one!!

ChicPea Sat 29-Jan-05 00:01:01

StealthMouse, shall watch your D's progress.

Deegward, once a month is unbelievable. I'm so glad you managed to sort it out. I think we are all vulnerable to something. With some people, it's constipation and we just have to adapt our diet to avoid it. It can be done.

cuzziemummy Sun 30-Jan-05 21:59:57

We went through all of this with the Lactulose and Sennakot which did clear initially (double dose - aaaagrrhhh!) - but slowly but surely got bunged up again as it is a laxative rather than encourages them to go naturally. The thing that has really helped is a 1/4 teaspoon of psyllium husks and slippery elm (herbs froma good health food shop - also we realised that he was doing "pretend" pushing instead of "real" pushing and lots of procrastination!!!!Def check out food intolerances with a local naturopath. Chamomile can relax them too and australian flower remedies are pretty groovy too for changing state of mind!

StealthMouse Mon 31-Jan-05 09:28:07

Have just returned after the weekend - thanks you all so much for all your replies. I honestly didn't realise it was such a common problem and all of your suggestions give me lots of food for thought.

Dd is currently on 2 spoons of lactulose twice a day and after a whole weekend of trying she still hasn't gone.

I have started a food diary today

JJ Mon 31-Jan-05 09:46:05

StealthMouse, my sons were prescribed a Magnesium supplement to help their constipation. It worked for them, as did a glycerin enema when things got serious. This was in Switzerland -- just mentioning it because those two things don't seem so common here. Not sure if it'd work for your daughter; my two weren't that bad.

Their GP also said that achy legs are another symptom of Mg deficiency.

Hope she gets better soon. It's so distressing seeing them like that!

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