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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: 7yr old with bowel problems

 cheny24 - Tue Aug 26, 2008 10:22 am

My 7 yr old daughter has had bowel problems since she was an infant causing problems that doctors keep saying is constipitation and she just needs more fiber in her diet then most people. She has been put on a prescription before and I can't remeber the name it is clear and made of some type of glucose or close to that family. Sometimes she's ok and sometimes it's bad. She has to run to the bathroom when she gets the urge and hardly nothing comes out just little pieces and some liquid which get in her underpants before she gets to the toilet and sometimes it happens at night and she soils her pants in her sleep. She can go through at least 4 underpants in one day because she can't control it and it just comes- sometimes a lot or a little. Sometimes her tummy hurts and sometimes it doesn't. What can I do to help her and does this have a name?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Aug 27, 2008 10:33 pm

User avatar Hello Cheny24,

This does sound like constipation; however, the question then becomes what is the cause of her constipation. If she has not been evaluated for this I would recommend you discuss with her doctor about being tested for hypothyroidism, celiac disease and possibly hirschsprung's disease. All these conditions (which are not particularly uncommon, with celiac disease reaching an estimate of 1 in every 100 people) can cause constipation.

Functional constipation (constipation where there isn't a problem such as those above) is also quite common. It is often treated with osmotic medications such as polyethylene glycol (miralax or glycolax are common names of this). I suspect this is the medicine that your daughter had previously used.

You may want to consider having your daughter evaluated by a GI specialists. At this point, her constipation may be so significant that she may need more aggressive medications to help clean out her colon (such as enemas or a medicine called golytely).

It can take some effort but this issue can usually be overcome. The point that failure often occurs is after the colon is cleaned out. The problem with constipation is that the intestines are stretched and loose their ability to sense that they are full. After the colon is cleaned out, the colon needs to be kept at a normal diameter for 6-12 months allowing the intestines to regain their sensations. To do this, a stool softener and good bowel habits are needed to keep the stool very soft and the intestines essentially empty during this time. It's a long process but this generally will resolve the issue (assuming one of the above or another illness isn't going on that needs to be corrected).

Best wishes.

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