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General health

constipation -needs an urgent cure!

24 replies

Jimjams · 22/07/2004 21:21

DS1 has been constipated the last couple of days. This means he has decided to stand up and poo on the floor (when I'm not there). He then smears it everywhere (I think just trying to get rid of it rather than for sensory reasons).

Anyway I need constipation cures urgently- am trying to make sure he drinks plenty- anything else? He won't take tablets and his diet is appalling (won't eat any fruit or veg at the moment) so it would need to be liquid- or something that can be sneaked into a drink.

OP posts:
littlemissbossy · 22/07/2004 21:21

how old is your ds?

johno · 22/07/2004 21:23

have you tried orange juice diluted or pure if old enough

Jimjams · 22/07/2004 21:25

5 littlemissbossy but non verbal autistic.

Orange juice is a good idea- will try tomorrow. He's been refusing to drink it recently but will try again. Actually thinking about it I know my mother will start going on about brown sugar- maybe I should try both.....

OP posts:
lou33 · 22/07/2004 21:25

What have you tried jimjams?

Lactulose is generally good for constipation, or senna in liquid form, or failing that picosulphate works v quickly (take it at night and it should work the next morning)

Having said that I believe ds2 has bowels of solid steel, as we use all three with him and still nothing has worked! But he is an unusual case . Senna and lactulose is over the counter or prescription, but the picosulphate is prescription only. Hth.

johno · 22/07/2004 21:28

baked beans works well for my son, followed off by the pure orange,

littlemissbossy · 22/07/2004 21:29

yes orange juice or the old wives tale of a little brown sugar in warm milk might work
Here's some info for you - a bit long but hope it helps
How to help your child
Talk to your doctor if your child is less than 1 year old. If your child is over 1 year old, here are a few things you can try.

Encourage the child to drink plenty of fluids. Avoid sweet and fizzy drinks because they are bad for teeth. Offer a variety of drinks, such as water, diluted fruit juices and milk. (In some children, too much milk can have the opposite effect, making constipation worse.) Prune, pear and apple juices contain a sugar called sorbitol that is particularly good at keeping stools soft. In northern climates, children aged 4?6 years should drink about 2.5 pints (1.5 litres) in a day and children aged 7 years and older should drink about 3.5 pints (2 litres) in a day. Obviously, children in hot climates will need more.

Increase the amount of fibre in the diet. This can be difficult. A survey showed that 29?48% of children with constipation are ?fussy eaters?, and 47% have a poor appetite. Eating often improves once the constipation has been dealt with. Meanwhile, you could explain to your child that you are changing the diet to make stools soft and easier to pass, but don?t make it into an issue. Give the whole family the same foods. Aim for five portions of fruit or vegetables a day. There is a list of high- and medium-fibre foods in the section on constipation in adults. With luck, this list contains some foods that your child will like.

Don?t exclude milk from the diet without talking to your doctor, it could result in nutritional deficiencies. About 50% of children with true cows? milk allergy are also allergic to soya protein, so changing to soya might not be a simple solution.

Provide breakfast, and serve it early. For many children, breakfast seems to trigger a bowel movement. (This is called the gastro-colic reflex.) If you serve breakfast early, there will be plenty of time for the child to go to the toilet. Otherwise, because of the rush to get ready for school, the child may hold the stool in and then be reluctant to use the toilet at school.

Provide a child?s toilet seat (which fits over the normal seat), because it will make your child?s hip bend at the optimum angle for having a bowel movement.

Don?t give your child laxatives without talking to your doctor or health visitor. There are several different sorts of laxatives. Let your doctor or health visitor choose the most appropriate type if necessary.

When to see your doctor
You should see your doctor if your child is under 1 year old. If your child is older, you could try the measures outlined above for a couple of weeks, and then see your doctor if they have not solved the problem.

Another reason for seeing the doctor promptly is if you find yourself becoming angry with your child about it. A child with constipation can make you feel very frustrated, but the constipation is not the child?s fault, and is not being done deliberately. It is important to be patient.

The main reason for getting help is that constipation has to be sorted out, because if it continues for a long time the rectum enlarges. Then your child will miss a feeling that he/she needs to have a bowel movement, and the muscles of the bowel will not work properly to push the faeces out. Instead, liquid waste will dribble out from around the faeces, and there will be soiling of underwear. Then you will think that diarrhoea is the trouble, when in fact constipation is still the actual problem.

What your doctor can do
Your doctor will check that there is nothing physically wrong with your child. Your doctor might then decide that a laxative would be a good idea. Several types of laxative are available (see Constipation in adults). It is usual to start with lactulose to make the faeces soft, but other types may be needed. The laxative is often continued for about 3 months, and then very gradually reduced

Jimjams · 22/07/2004 21:31

Do they have stuff in them lou? Any sweetners, msg or gluten and he can't have it. I'm a bit loathe to give him over the counter stuff just because his guts are a bit of a mess and we've been trying hard to repair them. My dad said senna but am I right in thinking it tastes funny?

All I've done so far is behaviuoral stuff. Losing my temper made it worse so am now rewarding for pooing on the toilet and ignoring pooing on the floor. I think it's not done on purpose though as such as he did get very upset about it tonight. Mind you an hour later he weed all over the floor so maybe it has become behavioural.

OP posts:
Jimjams · 22/07/2004 21:36

oh my poor GP he hates seeing us walk in. Normally I have to visit as he's refusing to wee. I don't think he'll drink milk anymore. He currently eats gluten free bread, cheese, scrambled egg, gluten free pizza. He'll eat raisins at school but not at home (maybe thats the problem no raisins this week). I've tried hiding fruit in baked foods but he won't eat it. he used to eat loads of apples (stopped overnight) so I do keep offering him those. He used to eat prunes and apricots but won't now. So I'm a bit stuffed diet wise. I'll try the orange juice- I'll use freshly sqeezed oranges. I've been trying to get him on smoothies again but he's having none of it. We have a juicer maybe I should try more elaborate juices.....

Mind you if this is behavioural then I'm stuffed anyway.

OP posts:
lou33 · 22/07/2004 21:54

Not sure about the picosulphate, but the lactulose contains 3.35g of lactulose bp, including lactose and galactose. This is 3.35g/5ml.

Senna is senokot syrup. It says the ingredients of a 5ml spoonful are, standardised senna equivalent to 7.5mg total sennosides in a fruit flavoured base with sucrose and ethanol (7%vlv). Is that any help?

Bradsmum · 22/07/2004 21:55

Prune juice - my DS loves it. Worth a try

gingernut · 22/07/2004 22:00

Jimjams, these are the ingredients listed on my bottle of lactulose (bought OTC at Boots, manufacturer Lagap Pharma): lactulose, lactose, fructose and D-galactose. HTH. It's very sweet and could probably be hidden in a drink. Senna I've never tried.

I was going to suggest dried fruit but obviously that's a problem too!

Can you get some extra fluids into him by giving him a straw or something? I find my ds tends to drink more when he has a straw just because he likes to have one, IYSWIM.

Jimjams · 22/07/2004 22:01

Thanks Lou- that sounds OK the senna would probably be the best bet. Don't think I can get to a chemist tomorrow as I have both boys all day but will get some first thing Saturday.

OP posts:
Caroline5 · 22/07/2004 22:03

Hi jimjams, have just had a look at dd2's lactulose bottle, which states (unhelpfully) that the main ingredient is lactulose solution BP! It also contains lactose, fructose, D-galactose and epilactose if that means anything to you ?! FWIW, dd1 who is very sensitive to additives and goes hyper very easily from dietary sources, never seems to have reacted to lactulose. I would recommend it if you think ds1 would take it and the ingredients are OK - it finally seems to be sorting out dd2's bowel issues!

Caroline5 · 22/07/2004 22:04

Oops, posts crossed.

Easy · 22/07/2004 22:06

As a child I often suffered. My mum used to give me Syrup of figs. I believe you can still buy it over the counter. I would just add a V small amount (I mean 3 or 4 drops) to a drink or food, and try that, repeat if no result after 12 hours.

I think the trouble with constipation is it becomes 'habitual'(not deliberately) as the bowel just seems to slow down, and needs to be 're-educated' as it were. Just experience talking here, not medical fact you understand.

Accept if you think it's crap.

Easy · 22/07/2004 22:07

no pun intended

Jimjams · 22/07/2004 22:09

TBH I can't work out why he's suddenly become constipated again - he was for years, then our nutritionist gave him cod liver oil and saccromyces- the saccromyces seemed to really sort it out, but suddenly we're back to constipation.

Can it be caused by stress? He keeps saying "go to school" and doesn't understand its the school holidays so maybe the change of routine has just floored him. Also he is much less physically active than when he is at school as I can't take him and ds2 out. maybe a long walk at the weekend would help......

OP posts:
Jimjams · 22/07/2004 22:10

I'm a great believer in things like syrup of figs easy. if it only needs a few drops I could probably easily get some into him. I'm going to have to go constipation shopping at the weekend!

OP posts:
Easy · 22/07/2004 22:29

I suggest drops jimjams cos I seem to remember it worked VERY well, and you don't want too much too soon do you.

Poor mite, I know how very uncomfortable he must be. I still suffer occasionally (brought on by stress with me incidentally), but at least I can treat myself

Portree · 23/07/2004 08:41

Jimjams, would he eat liquorice? Great at relieving constipation. Shops that sell sweets from large jars (do they still exist ...?)try some called Pontefract cakes. Just a thought if he won't take any fruit. Not sure of course what dietary restrictions he has. Also, you can get Califig from the supermarket which is like syrup of figs.

Chandra · 23/07/2004 09:04

Jimjams, This is a natural remedy for little babies but I guess if you make it a bit stronger will also work for an older child. Boil 1-2 dry prunes in a 1/2 pint of water and let it cool and let him drink it. Good luck!

PS. Bananas are also very good but take longer to have effect.

hmb · 23/07/2004 09:10

I've posted about the lactulose on the other thread.

Re what to do for a quick result, try exlax chocolates. A friends child had a major problem with constipation, and this helped her.

gloworm · 23/07/2004 10:36

i just posted on you "in the news" thread...didnt see this one before

heartinthecountry · 23/07/2004 16:51

just posted on the news thread (LOL at the idea of ds1's poo being in the news) but see syrup of fig is here too.

Also, at baby massage we used to push their knees into their chest and then rotate hips in circular movements which supposedly helps get bowels moving. Not sure how easy that would be with a 5 yr old though.

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