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constipation

(67 Posts)
Margy Fri 06-Apr-01 11:58:56

Anyone got any great ideas on constipation? I have a 4 year old pre schooler who has suffered since last June. She drinks loads, eats loads of veg (doesn't like Macdonalds, pop, chips or crisps!) does lots of exercise. We are presently on 2 lots of medicine from the doctor which we keep altering the dose on but After ckeanin and changing for the 8th or 10th or more time each day I'm getting to the end of my tether!!!!!!!!!!!Any ideas!!!!!!!!!!!!

Robinw Fri 06-Apr-01 20:00:56

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Jac Sat 07-Apr-01 07:23:20

I've had this problem with my 2 year old since she went on to bottle feeding. Doctors prescribed lactulose and senakot for emergencies, but trying to get these down her was a real struggle. Now we give lactulose on it's own but you definately need to keep to same dose regularly. Same problem as you though, forget one day then give too much and you have a problem, luckily ours is still in nappies! Good luck - can totally sympathise.

Jillxx Sun 08-Apr-01 14:10:57

My nearly six year old daughter has also been suffering, frequently telling me she has "poo stuck in her bum", we have tried fruit juice, extra fruit, etc, the doctors did not take it seriously, finally she got prescribed fish oil and 1 tsp a day seems to be helping.

Tiktok Sun 08-Apr-01 15:49:42

Margy, what a problem....if you're having the overflow situation (!) which is what it sounds like, then it's a sign she's really bunged up. She might need a one-off laxative from the doc, and then more general everyday help with plenty of fluids, stool softener meds (they're not laxatives, they only work on the poo itself) or linseed added to breakfast cereal (from health shops and Boots, quite palatable, and you only need a spoonful or so).

Staffy Wed 02-May-01 20:44:08

My son (now 17 months) has suffered since about 5 months - always strains & cries to poo, and then often passes either nothing or small pellets - but always very soft, so not 'typical' hard constipation. Our frustration was that none of the health professionals we consulted would take this seriously - we saw 3 different GPs at our surgery and then a hospital paed. but all fobbed us off with 'give him more water/fruit/prunes' etc. The poor little lad was drinking water for england and beginning to look like a prune! Finally in desperation we got a private referral to a gastorenterologist paed. in London and took some video of our poor little boy in 'straining distress' he immediately diagnosed a slow bowel and recommended a daily dose of Paraffin Oil to lubricate and speed up the process. Its helping a bit, but not completely. I actually think it's part pyschological too now - he hates being in a nappy - he'll sometimes poo in the bath, and now also if we get him onto a potty in time. Anyone else with similar experience / any advice. We're told it should get better as he gets older - we're hoping potty training will help.

Chell Sat 21-Jul-01 14:09:45

my three year old son has been the same for 18 months, he doesnt go for days, sometimes a week or more and my GP also does not take this seriously.he bleeds even when his poo is soft which i know is not right.he holds it in until he ends up having an accident.my GP told me it was my fault for not feeding him properly and gave me a load of advice on diet, which wasnt that different his diet anyway.i too would like some advice, and i would like to know why doctors dont take this seriously.

Tiktok Sat 21-Jul-01 14:37:23

Chell, your little boy probably has an anal fissure. Your chemist can advise something. You can also call ERIC, on 0117 960 3060 for advice on bedwetting, day wettng soiling and constipation. Your doctor should take this seriously. ERIC will tell you of doctors and clinics where they do take it seriously, and mybe your GP can refer.

Kizzy Tue 18-Sep-01 12:40:45

My little girl is eighteen months old and has been suffering from chronic constipation for well over ten months. She drinks loads of water, eats well and gets plenty of exercise. But goes thru' agony at poo-time (and has often torn). The doctors and baby clinic have been of no help, and do not take the problem, nor the distress it causes both the parents and the baby, at all seriously. My little girl will clench her legs together to stop herself going and completely refuse to allow herself to poo (even when stools are soft) for up to five days. We have tried all sorts of meds and are now being treated by a homeopathic doctor who agrees that the problem has now also become behavioural and is working to treat both the physical and behavioural side. Unfortunately, to date, we are not having any luck. If anyone has tried anything that works I'd love to hear about it. I've also tried massage and small doses of Osteopathy but to no avail.

Robinw Tue 18-Sep-01 20:41:38

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Janus Wed 19-Sep-01 12:37:57

I had very similar problems with my daughter (she would go rigid when pooing and would often cry and then produce small little pellets). I was told by my HV that once she had stopped formular milk things would improve but they didn't. I then was told by her dietician (another story!) that she could have 100% juice, ie not diluted. I then tried her on the Copella freshly pressed apple juice and it was hey-presto, normal poo! Very occasionally she gets constipated by that seems to be when I've run out of the juice. All I give her is full fat cows milk first thing and last thing of the day and then this juice all day, not very often water, just the juice.
May be worth a try?? I too had tried fruit, fruit, fruit, prunes, diluted fruit juice, medicine from the chemist, etc but nothing else seemed to work.
Good luck as I know it's horrible to see them in such obvious pain.

Chiba Wed 19-Sep-01 14:53:36

My son has been constipated since I was breastfeeding him. He has never had formula milk, so that was not the problem. He was really in pain whenever he had to poo, straining forever, with blood in faeces etc. It was torture for him and for us.

I tried every possible cure. I did not want to use laxatives regularly so I tried osteopathy, homoeopathy, chinese medicine, prune juice, olive oil, flax oil, drinking a lot of water, prunes, etc. Nothing. In the end I gave up and my paediatrician suggested at first a massive dose of Senakot and Lactulose (two tea spoons of Senakot a day and 4 tea spoons of Lactulose a day). I have been progressively reducing the dose in the last two years and now we are down to one tea spoon of Lactulose a day. He thinks that after a while babies associate pooing with pain and then they refuse to poo, so it becomes a vicious circle. He suggested that we made it really easy for him and then slowly reduce the doses. So far it has worked.

I will also try other suggestions that have been recommended by other mothers, since constipation is always at the back of my mind with my son and I feel the enemy is not beaten yet. Something that was not a medicine and really worked for us was kiwis. With two kiwis a day his constipation was gone. Obviously in the end the poor boy got fed up with kiwis and we were back to square one!

I think his constipation has also definitely improved since he has been potty trained, but I know of other children who started being constipated after potty training.

I agree with all of you who found GPs were not very helpful.In our case diet was not the problem, our son has always eaten lots of vegetables and fruit. In the end I was so fed up with well meaning people telling me to try some prune juice!

Tilda Wed 19-Sep-01 19:57:26

Ever since I dropped 2 breastfeeds a day my 6 month old has been constipated. It is so bad that she keeps throwing up whilst straining which causes her lots of distress. Today she was sent home from nursery because she was sick a couple of times - she wasn't ill, just constipated. I've been giving her prunes each morning, avoiding bananas etc but it doesn't seem to help much. I'll try the kiwis and the apple juice and keep fingers crossed. Especially as it is a real hassle to have to leave work early when she isn't actually ill...

Robinw Thu 20-Sep-01 08:46:58

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Tilda Thu 20-Sep-01 12:11:18

Aargh - it has happened again - nursery have rung to say she has been sick 3 times but is perfectly happy. We know it is because she has been straining too hard but we just can't fix it. At this rate we will be spending more time at home than in work. Help - I need a quick solution.

Kizzy Thu 20-Sep-01 12:34:08

I am just about to try a new natural laxative suggested by the pharmacy as the latest homeopathic meds (and food supplements for promoting healthy gut bacteria) have not worked and we have had several poo-less days and need to move things along as she tore the last time she strained and I don't want to put her thru' that again.

This one is a fig syrup called Califig with added senna. Anyway, she has refused to take it off the spoon (and having tasted it myself I can understand why - it's quite a strong taste). So I am just about to melt a bar of organic chocolate, mix in enough Califig for a week and give her a square a day. She usually only has chocolate as a treat and, of course, loves it. I'll let everyone know if I have resounding success with this one!!!

And a question for those of you who have been prescribed Senakot and Lactulose my doctors. Is it okay to have little children take laxatives on a daily basis? I would be worried that it'd deplete their stock of vitamins, minerals etc. Or is that just being silly?

Hedgehogpie Thu 20-Sep-01 20:43:53

My daughter was born with her vagina and anus fused together. We went to out patients so many times and saw numerous paediatricians. No one diagnosed her with any problems. In the end I found a sympathetic GP at the baby clinic who referred us to a paediatric bowel specialist at St Thomas' London. He diagnosed her immediately and then ran down the corridor to get a second oppinion from the man who became my daughters surgeon.We were so releived to know what was wrong. She had eight ops and during a nine month period had a colostomy whist the new anus that had been made(in the correct position was healing)She was only 18 months old. Now at four she still finds it hard to poo unless we keep her regular. This is done by the administration of 5ml twica a day and 10ml twice a day of lactulose and senna. Hideous I know. But she is ok. We often supplement her diet with 'flora and fauna' from the local health food shop.We have a bit of a homeopathic legend there. But I do recommend it, just for the sake of their insides. When my daughter is really bad I have found Dr Geoff in Bethnal Green 0207 739 0100 a chironic healer, who waves his arms around and unblocks energy channels.(yopu have to be very open minded, but it really has worked for us) Fantastic for children as it is a very uninvasive alternative treatment and you can hold them all the time. My daughter has pooed like a normal child within 12 hours of seeing Dr Geoff every time and continues to do so for as long as we can keep her eating enthusiastically. We have also found that only giving her bottled water helps alot.
Good luck I know how horrid constipation is. I would be very worried if my child was being sick due to being blocked up, this is serious you should be asking your GP for a referral. No child should have to split when pooing on a regular basis. It is NOT normal. Perhaps she needs and anul stretch, please go and see your GP and ask to be referred to a specialist. Seeking help for my daughter was scary, but it has changed hers and our lives. I must also admit it is easier now that she is older, but we do still have to spike a bottle of half milk half water at night to get the medicine in her) She is so happy now (when she isn't blocked up)
Good Luck

Robinw Fri 21-Sep-01 08:16:21

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Tilda Fri 21-Sep-01 12:41:03

I went to my GP because I was worried about my baby being sick when she strained - the GP just said to give her lots of fluids/fruit and really wasn't at all concerned.
Having spoken to the nursery we have realised that they were giving dd lots of "binding" foods such as potatoes, baby rice and bananas, so they have agreed to avoid those from now on.
She turns 6 months next week - does anyone have any suggestions about me introducing new foods? Ie should I avoid any of the things that I can now introduce or perhaps ensure I give her things like lentils and bread with lots of fibre in.

Hedgehogpie Fri 21-Sep-01 15:43:07

Tilda,
Due to my daughters problems she had severe constipation from the moment that she went onto solids. Her anus often split when she was straining too.
One day (when she was about 15 months old)she was so constipated that when we went to out patients and they x rayed her and she was blocked completely to the top of her intestine.Although the paediatricians were horrified still no one told us about the paediatric bowel specialist who is based there (Dr Clayden, St Thomas' london) and the surgeon Mr Ward who only deals with childrens bowels and bladder problems.It was suggested that we used infant suppositories to get things moving, as the lactulose and sennacot were obviously not helping. Looking back this would have been an humiliating experience for her if she'd been older(but as she was so little she put up a little struggle, but let us give her one, so I would urge you to try it if you are desparate...ask your dr or hv to be with you when you give it to her) (also lactulose is not a medicine it purely 'oils the insides and helps to keep the 'tubes' lubricated, it also helps to keep the stools soft as it stops the poos from becoming dehydrated, which can happen very quickly if the poos sit around for a few days in the intestine.)I have been advised that for extreme cases of constipation a dose of lactulose every day is fine and does not cause the childs bowel to become lazy.What is does do is interfere with the natural flora and fauna of the body, so homeopathic and natural potions can be taken to counteract this.Then once a child is old enough to link that persvering with a hard poo will make her feel much better, this is the time to start cutting down on lactulose.My child is 4 now and just beginning to link pooing with a feeling of releif.She also understands that if she holds her poo in she will get worse and worse tummy aches. I feel releived that she understands this, but there has still been the odd occasion when we've had to resort to a suppository.
You can buy infant suppositories over the counter and we used them with the help of KY jelly. It is really not a nice experience for a parent to administer this type of thing as it is obviously uncomfortable for the child..but if you can face it (with the help of a friend to hold the legs), it can help hugely. My husband would often be nearly reduced to tears because our daughter would cry so much, but the suppository kind of melts inside and breaks up the blockage, we used to gently push on her perineum to ease the poo out.
Sorry to rattle on and on, but I kind of feel abit of an expert on this subject having lived with our daughters problem for so long. And we have had great advice from fantastic paediatric bowel specialists. I can't bear to think that any other child should be constipated.
Try Sainsburys Turkestan bread, its very fibrous my children love it with marmite......and apparently linseed is good for replacing goodness cancelled out by laxatives.And I swear by bottled water.Too much limescale in some parts of the country increases chances of constipation

Hedgehogpie Fri 21-Sep-01 15:45:49

Tilda, just another thought....french bread and croissants etc are the worst for blocking. A nutritionalist told us, after we'd had a french nanny for a whole year and we'd all been pigging out on french pastries and bread since she'd arrived!!!!!!!!

Hedgehogpie Fri 21-Sep-01 15:47:33

Kizzy, sorry, these messages apply to your child too!

Kizzy Fri 21-Sep-01 16:21:28

Thank you all for your suggestions and your personal stories. It really does help. My idea for the fig syrup in melted chocolate didn't work out. It did something strange to the chocolate and the strong taste pervailed! She wasn't to be fooled. An eighteen month old knows what she likes and what she doesn't!

But today, after trying something one of you suggested (Linseed) for the last three days, we had the first normal poo in about..well, I can't remember how long. No distress, no tears and no pain. We were all thrilled (as only parents of a constipated child can get at the appearance of a normal poo). Unfortunately she won't drink the apple juice for me (another suggestion).

In response to a query about if there are any foods to be avoided the homeopathic doctor we saw said that calcium can often induce constipation in much the same way that iron does. So he suggested cutting back on fromage frais, yoghurts etc and substituting with soya products. You don't have to cut out dairy products altogether.

I am now going to add the Turkestan bread to her diet and only bottled water, as suggested today.

One other thing...and sorry to get a bit graphic here. When I hold my little girl's legs to her chest so that she can't clench them and stop herself pooing (which is her way of avoiding the pain)I can often see that her anus is dilated and the stools are up there but she doesn't appear to be able to push them out. And when she does eventually manage, the muscle of the anal passage inside bulges out through the anal opening for about ten to twenty seconds before going back in. Has this happened with anyone else? I've never actually watched another person poo so I don't know if this is normal or not!

Kizzy Fri 21-Sep-01 16:28:00

Tilda

Just another thought. When my daughter was very young she would often respond to a good dose of stewed prunes and apricots mixed with a little greek yoghurt if she hadn't pooed for several days. She did eventually come to hate the sight of both prunes and apricots, and they also lost their laxative effectiveness.

Robinw Fri 21-Sep-01 16:58:09

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