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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.
Forum Name: Pediatric Topics
Question: Very infrequent bowel movements
|astyr - Sun Jan 29, 2006 4:54 am|
This is concerning my 6 yr. old daughter. She has has problems with her bowel movements since she was an infant. At first it seemed to be constipation. Her doctor had us try a few different things at home to help her but the only helped for a little while. As she got older, I noticed she was having very infrequent bowel movements. Again, we consulted the doctor and she advised us to try a variety of other things (mineral oil, Metamucil, suppositories) The suppositories were the only thing that seemed to help and, once again, only for a little while and they were very painful to her and very large. Presently, we have been giving her fiber supplements and they also seemed to be helping the first couple weeks. Now they don't seem to be helping at all. She has a bowel movement maybe once a week. She was just up crying in the middle of the night because of pain in the intestinal area. I don't know what else to do. My husband says that it is probably gas because we haven't exactly eaten great over the weekend. I think that it's something more serious than that. We also have a 4 year old son who does not eat as well as his sister as far as eating the healthy stuff and he has a bowel movement at least once a day. I am at my wit's end about what to do. Please, please help!
|Dr. Heba Ismail - Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:00 am|
Are you sure she is not voluntarily withholding due to pain during defecation?
|neddy32 - Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:37 pm|
[quote="Dr. Heba Ismail"]Are you sure she is not voluntarily withholding due to pain during defecation?[/quote]
If a 6 yr old is "voluntarily withholding due to pain" what things can be done to help move things along.
|Debbie Miller, RN - Mon Apr 23, 2007 1:09 pm|
As long as your child is constipated and having large stools, she is likely to withhold to avoid the pain, until she has no choice and by then, of course, there will be more pain. So it is critical that you get the constipation under control. Here are some suggestions.
Make sure she is getting a minimum of 3 glasses of water or juice daily. More won't hurt. Give her a special take-along water bottle to help encourage her to sip constantly. You take your own water bottle along too so you can model the behavior you want her to learn.
Make sure all her cereal choices contain plenty of bran and fiber.
Encourage lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Try to make them more interesting, add a dip or try something new. Kids can sometimes enjoy a new taste and texture. Don't offer these only as a choice with other foods she likes better. Who wouldn't choose the brownie over the carrot? Take a bag of good choices along in the car for snacks so it feels like a treat. Dried fruits make a tasty snack (not the packaged "fruit" snacks which are not real fruit).
Avoid too much rice, low-fiber bread, bananas and cheese. Some children can't handle cow's milk for this reason. You might try switching to a soy based milk for a time to see if it makes a difference. You can get this in a chocolate flavor which may make it more palatable. If you find milk is an offender, you should give her supplements to replace the calcium and vitamin D she may be missing but some people become constipated with some types of calcium or iron so care should be taken in selecting the right supplements.
Suppositories are sometimes the only thing that will "unclog" but hopefully you can do some prevention with other treatments so the suppository use can be decreased.
You should encourage your child to have regular bowel patterns. Have your child sit on the toilet for about ten minutes after meals 1-2 times each day. Provide books to browse or other tactics to make it a positive experience and to encourage enough time there to get things moving.
The use of simple rewards or a daily calendar with stars or stickers for days that your child takes her medicine and has a bowel movement may be helpful.
This is not a problem you will be able to cure over night but with patience and perseverance she may get good results.
Good luck with this frustrating problem.
|jacluc - Sun Apr 29, 2007 5:53 am|
Having the child sit on the toilet for ten minutes after meals does work. My son has Celiac Disease and is milk intolerant and therefore has always been constipated. I never believed he was withholding but I followed my doctors advice and had him sit 10 minutes after breakfast every day. Low and behold, he had a bowel movement every time.
|jacluc - Wed May 16, 2007 5:28 am|
I felt I should also mention that sitting 10 minutes a day did not begin to work until he was on a gluten free/dairy free diet. Alot of people (even a doctor I saw) did not connect constipation with Celiac Disease or gluten intolerance. Most people associate diarrhea and wasting with it. Also, even my pediatric GI , who I loved, never suggested dairy as a possible offending food. He has been gluten free for 2 years but only dairy free for 2 months. He still tries to withhold, I believe out of habit, but when I force him to sit, he does go. Good luck.
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