Advice about Constipation
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Our girl has had very hard poops and/or total constipation for
over a year now. Sometimes she'll even hold her poops (knowing
it will hurt coming out) for days at a time, which has forced
us to give one enema so far. Our MD at Kaiser had her on
Glycolax precription laxative for months, that hardly worked.
Then they recommended drug store laxatives like Benefiber, etc.
Still not much luck.
One MD recommended we take her off dairy, which we (mostly)
were able to do over two weeks, but that didn't help either.
We are divorced parents, so my daughter goes between two
households and is being raised vegetarian. Unfortunately, she
eats a lot of starch (white rice, pasta, pizza) and probably a
fair amount of canned/frozen/processed food as well (at the
other house, which is where she resides 75% of the time). She
does like prunes, but not enough to affect things. Both homes
have been integrating whole grains for some time, and the
primary household likes to use high fiber processed nutrition
bars. Also being used are chewable multi's with iron, chewable
papaya supplements, and 4 Tbs. of flax oil a day. And even
still, hard poops persist.
We have found a great ND who can do nutritional and allergy
testing, but it is going to be an expensive endeavor, which i
am hoping to avoid as money is super tight (we're talking up to
$200 for a consult). My daughter is very active and is in a
Montessouri school about 40-50 hours a week. As such, I've long
suspected she doesn't drink nearly enough water during the day.
She is going to be five soon, and I feel like she already is
developing weird food issues and body issues. Any advice from
experience we'd greatly treasure it!
- Pooped Out
It's possible your girl isn't getting enough water, and it's
also possible she's got a gluten allergy on top of dairy (or
instead). Try taking her off of all gluten (wheat, barley, rye,
oats) and see if that makes a difference.
On top of that, it seems to me that 40-50 hours in day care for
a 4 1/2 yo is a lot of time away from mom and dad, esp. with
divorced parents. Is there a way you can address possible
Having had the same issues when I was in grammar school I can
see now that it was about control, for me. Of course I didn't
know it at the time. No one could make me poop...it was the one
thing in my life I COULD CONTROL.
I'd definately go for the nutritional consult. It could easily
be food allergies, which is WAAAYYYY easier to deal with then
emotional issues (and food issues can affect emotions A LOT!)
I could have written most of your post about 3 years ago.
The solution to your daughter's problem is incredibly simple and
easy, but you must be absolutely consistent, do not miss even
One teaspoon of Benefiber every day in about 2 ounces of liquid.
That's it. Problem solved.
Now let me explain. I have an 8 1/2 year old daughter that has
had such problems - from infancy - that she had a vagal response
with profuse sweating and her eyes rolled back in her head when
trying to pass a large, hard stool. The vagal response was what
the pediatrician diagnosed. (If you don't know vagal response
read the book Midwife, the vagal response made the midwife think
the birthing mother was dead.)
In the end, my daughter's pediatrician said that no child should
have to suffer such severe pain for something that can be so
easily solved. So we started on Benefiber and it worked from
about the second day forward. No loose stools, just those
that ''regular'' people have.
My daughter has tried lots of liquids with Benefiber and
Gatorade is what she seems to prefer. The slightly salty taste
makes the Benefiber taste-free. The Benefiber bottle says there
is no taste, my daughter swears there is a taste - the Gatorade
We were so comfortable, we stopped Benefiber once for two days,
the stomach cramps, hard, large stools started back up as though
she never had started the Benefiber in the first place. We
started back up the Benefiber and haven't missed a day since and
my daughter has NEVER had another episode.
Thank You Dr. Garcia (Oakland Kaiser)
I recently posted a similar question about my son and got a lot
of helpful advice. I am not sure what the trigger with your girl
might be, with my son were probably several hard poop that hurt
him and since that he decided that withholding it would be better
and not painful.
I have addressed both his diet and my own behavior to the
process. I started making it more matter of fact and avoided
focusing on it and stuck to a strict schedule for using the potty.
For the diet I can recommend the following:
- eat fresh fruits BEFORE meals - apples, pears, plums, peaches,
apricots are all helpful, especially helpful before breakfast in
- boil a mix of dried fruits and have her eat the fruit and drink
the water, it is actually quite tasty
- fresh squeezed kiwi juice works wonders as well as the fruit in
- of the vegetables - cabbage, carrots, tomatoes work really
well, again consumed before the main meal, fresh. Cabbage is
helpful cooked too.
- I realize you are a vegetarian, but you need to decrease the
starches a lot, pasta and rice especially do not help. We pretty
much stopped eating rice at home and eat pasta once every 2-3 weeks.
- legumes - beans, lentils are helpful
- buckwheat, it is a great substitute for rice, as any whole
- not sure if you can find this but a teaspoon of rose leaf jam
- some say that probiotics help, I am not convinced about that,
but it doesn't hurt to use them.
If all else fails - Miralax is the medicine that continues to
work for my son. I think we are all wired differently and some
just can't go very regularly.
Good luck, I feel your pain.
Is she getting enough liquids? My son wasn't until we handed him
a cup with a straw. Now he SLURPS liquid down and poops fine.
Before we figured out that he problem was really liquid intake,
he was on Miralax which did soften his poop. It's an OTC med,
just recently moved from prescription.
straws are cheap!
I was in your shoes a year ago. It was my son. It is very
common, especially if a child has had hard poops-- they get
afraid of letting it out b/c it will hurt! It only compacts the
problem, literally. What happens with encopresis is that the
holding of the poops causes their colon to stretch out. What I
was told that no amound of fiber will help this b/c the bowel
needs to shrink down to it's right size which is why doctors
want to prescribe a laxative such as Miralax that will keep the
child pooping so that the colon can come back to it's original
shape. After almost a year on the laxative, I was worried that
my son would be on it forever! I did not want that but I also
didn't want him to go through any ''episodes(writhing,
screaming, painful poops. leaks!)'' at school. I spoke with a
homeopath. She felt confident that she could remedy the
situation. We decided to do it over Thanksgiving since we'd
have 5 days at home. So, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving was
the last time my son got Miralax (but I didn't tell him!). Then
on Wednesday morning, he recieved a homeopathic remedy. Believe
it or not, we haven't had any issues! It really worked! It was
amazing how quickly he responded to the remedy!
One time about four months later he backed up again. She came
right over and gave him an emergency remedy and seriously, he
pooped within an hour. Two days later, he came down with a
fever and the homeopath really felt like the constipation was
an early symptom of his oncoming flu!
As a side note, since the first remedy was administered, I have
been giving my son chewable probiotics, DHA's and EFA's and a
Metamucil cookie EVERY morning! He is and always has been a
great eater. Lots of veggies and fruit. He's not a huge starch
eater. I also think drinking water is very important.
The homeopath is in Pleasant Hill and she is Klara Fischerova.
You can reach her at 925.297.7293. I can't recommend her
enough! I know there are many who question homeopathy but I am
telling you, we tried everything and nothing helped but this
worked! He didn't know, so there was no placebo effect. Here we
are 9.5 months later and no more Miralax and no more hard
poops! Good luck. I know how stressful this is, not just for
your little girl, but for you too, watching her go through this!
Iron is constipating. Our doctor advised us to throw away the vitamins. Actually
are probably seeing how demoralizing it is to be unable to poop. Miralax worked
wonders for us.
I'd meet with the teachers and discuss how they can help ( dried
and fresh fruit or popcorn as a snack?) Encourage drinking at
school with a drink in her cubby?
Our pediatrician recommends Miralax ( 1/2 of the white capfull
mixed in liquid per day as preventative for our 38 pound 5
year-old) which has helped. Summer we can skip some days since we
sometimes have just fruit and green beans for dinner ( after more
balanced meals). The dose can be more if it's not enough to keep
the child regular.
If you don't want to use it daily, you and your ex. might want to
track if she's pooped or not and give her Miralax the next day
after she's not pooped. Since it takes 4-6 hours to work, you can
mix it in a drink- bottle with apple juice for her to have with
lunch at school. That way she can poop at home in the evening.
We've found that the long-range plan is for our whole family to
get more fiber. We've started having blueberries from Trader
Joe's or other fruit for desert!
Stop the iron supplement, as they are very constipating. Your
pediatrician can order a blood test to rule out major food
allergies (dairy, wheat, soy, etc). It's not very sensitive but
a negative result usually means you don't have an allergy, so
it's a good starting point, and probably covered by insurance.
And start cutting out the processed foods! Fruit and oatmeal is
better for her than a high fiber power bar.
Hope this helps.
You mentioned that you're a vegetarian family, but you didn't mention a high fruit
and vegetable diet necessarily. (Perhaps you were thinking that that was a given,
considering you're vegetarians?) So, something to think about: increasing her daily
fruits and veggies intake. Also, the iron supplement might be aggravating this
problem. Good luck!
First and foremost, check with your pediatrician. There could
be some physiological reason for the constipation. With that
said, if you cannot get it right away, try water and prunes (a
jar of baby prunes work well). My 8-year-old nephew had the
same problem for many, many years until he last visited us. I
suspected that it may be his diet; I don't think his mother
watches what he eats. While he was here, I was able to control
his diet by removing all simple suguars (e.g., soda, candy,
cookies, cakes), having him drink more water and introducing
whole prunes. On the very first day of trying, he pooped. Two
days later, he had two massive poops! This really had a
positive impact on his self-esteem because he was often
concerned about soiling his underwear, particularly at school.
The ongoing constipation would create an urgent need to
evauate, something he could not control.
We went something very similar. We ended up seeing Dr Tom Cowan
in SF. http://fourfoldhealing.com/ He gave us some herbal
remedy (Chinese I believe) that worked wonders. We had tried
everything before. He does not take insurance but if you have a
PPO you can submit it yourself for partial reimbursement. Best
of luck. It's a trying situation.
I didn't see your original post, but saw the responses, so I just
had to chime in. First, how I feel for you and your daughter:
1.5 years is a long time to be constipated. My son was
constipated from 1.5 years to 3 years. We tried everything: no
sugar, only whole grains, fruit and veggies, no pectin-containing
fruits, lots of water, no dairy, homeopathy. Well, hydrating and
fibering-up just wasn't enough. The rectum muscles stretch over
time, and lose their ability to push: they need an opportunity to
constrict, and your daughter needs a break from the pain (and to
disassociate pain with pooping). Miralax saved us: I rejected
laxatives for so long, and they saved us in the end. Talk to
your ped: it's time for the laxatives: it will get her over the hump.
My son is 2 yrs and 3 months old and since day one has been
having problems with his stool. He was exclusively breastfed
until 6 months so during that period the explanation was that
most breastfed babies have infrequent stools. His were about
every 3 days and were runny and abundant. After starting solids
we noticed that he still had problems so being mindful of that we
adjusted his diet insisting he ate as much as possible fruits and
vegetables and drunk plenty of water. These days he eats all of
that, drinks fresh squeezed juices not from the box, barely eats
any sugary or salty snacks, rarely eats rice and I try to
restrict bread. He has generally good appetite and eats quite
well but is still a little on the skinny side. He eats only home
made food, a lot of soups, whole grains only and yet he is still
having problems passing stool. He would have a good week with
passing a stool every day and then all of a sudden will have
sometimes up to a 3-day long constipation. I have a feeling that
as soon as his stool gets a little harder he can't go. He often
cries when he is pooping and we have just started getting him
used to using the potty but haven't really pressured him to do
it. He normally does it standing in his diaper, twisting his legs
a little and sometimes I have a feeling that he tries to hold it
instead of pass it. His stool is normally big, I'd say close to
the size of adult's one, and soft. Probably 4-5 times he has had
some blood on it too, even though not in the last 9-10 months.
Has anyone had similar experience? I am afraid that he has some
chronic condition like enlarged colon or a fissure. Drs have not
been extremely helpful telling us to do what we already do. I
wonder if dairy or meat can cause that somehow. Please, if you
have heard of similar cases let me know.
Can't comment on nutrition (sounds like you're trying the right
things), but 2 additional thoughts:
1. Does he get enough exercise? Being in motion, running around,
even doing some baby yoga twists could help get things going.
2. Offer him the potty or toilet insert more often, beginning by
just going there for practice & fun. At 2y3m he's very likely
ready to move on from the diaper, especially given that you
say ''I have a feeling that he tries to hold it instead of pass
(Tangent: I used ''elimination cummunication'' with my 1st one
late, with my 2nd from birth, and he has been using the potty
exclusively since 19m. EC authors often talk about
babies/toddlers signaling to parents their more-than-readiness
by holding it in and not using the diaper.)
Best of luck to the little tummy!
Constipated mom, regular kids ;-)
Yeah...oh....yeah did we have that problem. Watch his starch intake (I.E. pasta,
bread, rice, potatoes, etc...). Up his liquid intake a lot, try calcium fortified juices
and cut down on the milk. Also, our doctor recommended a half a cap of Miralax in
8 oz. of juices once a day, lessen the dose as the situation improves. It's a gentle
over the counter stool softener, and it works like a charm. We give our 2 1/2 year
old a half cap every few days now, just to make sure he doesn't get backed up. I will
say while we were going through it, I came to find out it's very common. Good Luck.
For peace of mind, I would suggest seeing a doctor. If it's
bright red blood, then it's likely from the hard stool. If it's
dark, or black blood, then its happening earlier on in his
digestive tract and that is a bigger concern. In terms of diet,
I would try feeding your son foods that are warm or atleast room
temperature and I may try feeding him less raw food fruit. Baked
apple, cooked vegetables, lots of water, the whole grains you are
feeding him---all good foods. I would also recommend massaging
his abdomen on a regular basis beginning around his decending
colon, massaging his whole lower belly and abdomen and coaching
him with taking deep breaths. Work slowly, with care, and
intuition. holding is nice. If you want some alternative care
modalities, Chi Nei Tsang and Acupuncture are great choices.
Best of luck!
I'm all too experienced with these cycles of constipation, and
as frustrated as you are in dealing with them. Our daughter's
began when she started solid food at 6 months. She's now 2.75,
and has good months and bad months. Though I'm sure diet plays
a role, I also understand from our ped. that there are physical
changes that the colon/rectum goes through every time it
experiences a ''back-up''--the rectum itself stretches, so it can
hold much more before the urge starts, and the nerve endings
themselves stop sending signals that it's time to poop. So the
cycle continues and gets worse. Our main ''strategy'' besides
promoting all the right foods and trying to avoid all the wrong
ones is to use a stool softener (we use both Miralax and an
organic fiber powder) daily in a bottle of oat milk (more
fiber!) to keep the stool very soft. Then it's up to our
daughter to learn to recognize and respond to the urges, and
not hold it in (which I've definitely seen her do, for hours at
a time, and it's agonizing to watch).
In part I wonder (nonscientifically) if it's possible that some
kids have extra-sensitive rectums in the first place, so that
if they have a painful pooping experience, they're more likely
to clench up and say ''I dont' want to go through that again!''
Whatever it is, I sympathize with your situation, because the
cycle is very hard for a parent to watch without wanting to
intervene. Ultimately, each little person has to learn how to
poop for themselves, and apparently it requires some
UNlearning, too. Our latest attempt is to offer a longed-for
lip gloss as a prize for being able to poop 3 times in a row on
the potty. She's done it quite a few times, so we know she can,
and she seems VERY motivated by this reward. And anyone who can
poop on the potty regularly is clearly a big girl, and ready
for big girl lip gloss. I'm hoping that what we're creating is
a commercial version of a bio-feedback loop, where she learns
to tune in to those urges because of the prize that will
follow.... Who knows. Anyone else tried this or any other route
to help ''re-awaken'' the urge?
like poop through a ??
My son has the same problem. We've tried fruit everyday which
helps but when we take a day off, the constipation starts
again. I definitely think it is diet related but it's hard to
narrow it down specifically. I think it's something to do with
dairy. His doctor recommended taking Miralax for a few months
which has helped so far. He's been consistently taking it for
a few weeks now and is regular. We'll see what will happen
when we take him off of it after a couple of months.
Dairy, egg whites, and wheat are the three biggest causes of food
allergies, these could all cause constipation. Dairy particularly.
Breast fed babies poop more, not less than formula-fed as general
I think your son is allergic to one or more foods. I would
eliminate all three. I think that egg yolks are usually not the
culprit, but make sure. If your son's stools improve then slowly
add back foods to see which is the problem.
Also, make sure your son is getting enough probiotics. You can
get a powered form at a health food store.
Best of luck
Just one thought - some children (not all) get constipated from
cooked apple products such as applesauce or apple juice. Also
bananas. If you haven't already, you might try prune juice,
apricots, or pears. They sometimes help.
You are right--it is not normal for a 2-yr old to have frequent
constipation. Doctors will tell you that ''everyone is
different, some people move their bowels once a day, others
less frequently....'' This just doesn't make sense when we
consider that a healthy infant does, in fact, poop several
times a day. Why should that change so dramatically as we
age? I believe it is because our gut flora (bacteria) gets
messed up. Of course, there could be specific medical
conditions causing your child's constipation, but if doctors
haven't been able to help you, you have nothing to lose in
trying to clean up his gut: give him probiotics, digestive
enzymes and a magnesium supplement. No harm in giving him 500
mg (or more) of vitamin C per day, either--both magnesium and
vitamin C can have a stool-softening effect, and both serve
great roles in the body. The probiotics are to support the
growth of good bacteria, which is needed for proper digestion
and elimination. The enzymes will help ensure his food is
being properly digested. And yes, dairy can absolutely
contribute to constipation, particularly pasteurized milk
(refer to http://www.realmilk.com/rawvpasteur.html). So that
would be a good place to start--by eliminating pasteurized
milk. Best wishes.
My now 8 year old daughter had similar issues beginning in
infancy. Finally at 7 years old she had an episode of vagaling
while trying to pass a stool, (Vagaling is a type of losing
consciousness) we took her to Kaiser Oakland and saw Dr. Garcia.
Dr. Garcia was kind and gentle with my daughter. She talked to
her about how a child, anyone really, but especially a child
should never have to have this type of pain.
My daughter now takes a teaspoon of Benefiber mixed with
Gatorade in the morning and again in the evening. Why Gatorade?
After about 5 months of playing with putting it in yogurt,
cereal, other food, orange juice, water, milk, etc. we found
that my daughter likes it in Gatorade the best.
My daughter has not had a single episode since. There was a
period of time where my daughter chose to cut back to once per
day. She got some stomach cramps that reminded her of the old
pain and chose to go back to Benefiber twice per day.
Been there and happy not to return
My son had this problem when he was about 3 1/2. Now he is fine.
His (new, good) doctor put him on Miralax (over the counter). A tasteless
you mix in juice. Now he has regular bowel movements, every day or two. The
initial few months are a little difficult, as at first the dose can make loose
(sometimes necessary if the child doesn't want to push since it hurts them.)
His (old, bad) doctor put him on Milk of Magnesia. An awful substance that
reminded him of his problem and he felt punished at having to take every day.
Don't go that route. Kids get this problem, they get awful stomach pains, they
go for days, they may stop pushing, their poops are very large or even spherical.
actually can stretch the lower intestine. It's a medical problem.
I agree with the miralax suggestion, as I have had to deal with
my 4 year old, and his complete phobia of pooping at all,
because of a bout with constipation. After that episode, he
decided he was done pooping altogether, which is scary because
it can lead to a multitude of health problems, including MORE
constipation becasue of holding it in, and even social
The other thing I do, is puree yams, carrots, and cauliflower
to sneak into spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, and chili,
as he refused to eat his fruits and veggies. I also put
constipation relieving fruit into pancakes and oatmeal, as well
as giving him fruit leather. (The good kind that are flat and
full of fruit from Whole Foods Market, not the roll-ups that
are full of processed sugar.)
I do this because of two things. 1.) It gives him the nutrition
and natural health aides that he needs in order to soften his
stool, and 2.) it enables me to make efforts on the side in
order to get him to eat his veggies with less of a battle
because I know I don't have to worry about whether or not he's
getting enough to promote a healthy and problem free digestion
of food. He's getting it from the food that I sneak in there.
The results have been amazing since I started concentrating on
making sure he got plenty of fruits and vegetables in his diet.
I started with the miralax,(So that he HAD to go) and weaned
him off by means of sneaky fruits and veggies that he didn't
know about. While that was going on, we started with one bite
of veggies at each meal of sneaky one's, and now we're pretty
much at the point of him eating 3 ''knowing'' bites at each meal
with no fussing. It's a work in progress, but it's what has
worked for my very strong-willed child, and my peace of mind,
because now he's pooping in the potty saying ''Mommy! Come see
my son has had infrequent (every 3-7 days) bowel movements for the last 1 1/2
years -- since he stopped breast feeding. They are always large, and cause pain,
although only occasionally hard and compact. We have tried everything: mineral oil.
prune juice, homeopathy, decreased dairy, increased fiber and water consumption
(as much as I can considering that he loves refined carbs). some remedies have
partially helped, but he continues his cycle of a few days of happiness followed by a
few days of clingy unhappiness preceding the poop. He is like a changed child after
the BM: our whole household feels relieved and lighter. His preschool teachers
don't believe that he could have a psychological problem -- he is so relaxed and
easy going. Our pediatrician has told us that some children nauturally poop less
frequently and we shouldn't be concerned. My questions are:
1. Is it really normal to have such emotional swings related to bms, to poop so
infrequently, and to dread the pain of pooping?
2. Who should we go to if the pediatrician offers no help? should we demand
certain tests? are there possible conditions that she has overlooked? We have tried
a homeopath with some success but couldn't get messages returned when the
treatment stopped working.
3. how will my son ever learn to poop in the potty if he can barely accept pooping
in a diaper? he can't go to kindergarten with slippery mineral oil poops sliding out
If it seems painful to your child, I would be worried. My 6 year-old son
has had constripation problems since he was several weeks old. We tried
everything you mentioned with limited good results. About a year ago,
the pediatrician prescribed Miralax, which has worked really well. You
might want to talk to your doctor to see if this might be a good
alternative for your child.
I am a child psychologist and I think you could use some help with this
from a psychological point of view. Most MDs do not know much about the
psychological issues that accompany witholding stools.
See another pediatrician. Symptoms of ball-shaped poops, very painful
hard poops, anal leakage, infrequent poops are symtoms of a problem that
affects a few percent of young children. My son had this problem
(started with not liking to poop, progressed to holding in poops), and
his pediatrician prescribed Milk of Magnesia to soften up the poops (NOT
fiber or metamucil once he is already constipated, that just piles up
more poop inside). We moved & changed pediatricians and his new doctor
offered a daily medicine that is taken for 6 months to break the cycle
of painful poops, which we probably are going to start on soon. (This
is instead of Milk of Magnesia, which is yucky to ingest.) His new
pediatrician said if there are painful poops, crying from being
constipated, anal leakage, or if it is an issue you have to think about
almost every day, you should think about going on the medicine. I feel
for you, my son had many miserable days where he was crying and crabby
from a sore tummy from being full of poop, missing out on activities,
and many miserable painful poops too. Also, it's not good apparently
for the intestines to be really stretched out a lot. There's probably
more info about this on the web.
Fiber makes poop soft and easy to come out. Children often eat small
amounts of fiber rich foods and that is ok, but that means these foods
need to be offered everytime they eat. It doesn't have to be whole
grainy stuff; fruits and veggies, fiber rich cereals work well for young
kids. For example to whatever your son usually has, add 1/4 of an
apple with breakfast, bran chex with snack, whole wheat crackers or 1/4
of fruit with lunch, fig bar with snack, cooked baby carrots at dinner.
This is not something to ''try'' this is a lifelong health habit, that
is good for the entire family. I have seen this work well for many
children with difficulty pooping
Try probiotics. We use Baby Jarrow. It is a good bacteria that takes
the bad bacteria with it when leaving your system.
Probiotics are along the same lines as the acidpholus (sp?) that you
find in yogurt. You might also seek the help of a holistic type
chiropractor. Both of these suggestions helped us when determining that
our daughter was lactose intolerant and having digestive issues. Good
Couldn't live with out probiotics.
Ever since my two year old was born, she has had severe cases of
constipation, hard stools. She is a big eater and therefore
poops really big. No matter what I have done, it wont help her
constipation. Can toddlers have hernia's trying to push the
stool out? If so, what would a hernia look like? I tell her
pediatrician but of course she would just only say its normal
for kids to have constipation, eat fiber, drink a lot of fluids
and then dismisses the fact that my daughter's constipation has
been going on ever since she was born. Her constipation doesn't
happen evertime she poops but nearly half the time. And when it
happens, its pretty bad. I have done everything to prevent her
constipation but to no avail. Will this cause damage to her
anus in the future? I am really worried about and feeling like
Im useless helping her. I have heard about cranial-sacral
therapy for kids, will this help with constipation?
My daughter had a terrible problem with constipation starting at age 6
months. I tried everything and finally when she was 5 I saw progress by
using this product (which I discovered on the BPN web site):
http://www.earth-friendly.com/juiceplus.php3. She drank that juice for
about a year and that brought things under control.
Now she is 9 years old and is fine. Good luck!
This worked with my daughter who had the worse case of consitpation that
no medication would cure. This also has worked with many of my pediatric
patients. Approximately 20-30 minutes after dinner (the evening meal),
to take advantage of the gastro- colic reflex, have your child sit on
the toilet (or potty chair). Feet must be able to touch the ground.
Have your child read something (picture book or mail order catalogue
will do-- something to keep your child's interest and help them relax
15 minutes or so while they are sitting on the toilet). Do this every
night for 2 weeks straight. Even if you don't get results at first.
This will take care of constipation if you are consistent. If you can
continue this for 21 days you'll make it a habit! Evenings are
generally better than mornings time wise!
Does your daughter drink cow's milk? I read a book by a harvard public
health physician and researcher. He cited a study where a group of kids
with severe constipation were taken off cow's milk and were switched to
soy. Within two weeks, the constipation disappeared in two-thirds of
the kids. If she drinks cow's milk, it's worth a shot. Good luck!
I am at my wits end. My 2-year-old daughter has been suffering
from chronic constipation for about 1 year now! And it seems to
be just getting worse. She is constipated more often than she
is not. This has affected her moods greatly. I notice she is
more sensitive and aggravated when in a constipated state
(which has been all the time lately) and talking all the time
about '' ouwie poo-poo''.
We were first advised by our pediatrician to use mineral oil,
which has been in her daily diet for at least 10 months now.
This does loosen her stool but we still often have bouts
of ''ouwie poo-poo''. I was than recommended a prescription drug
called Miralax. This caused a lot more talk of ouwie poo-poo to
the point of tears. I believe she was suffering from the side
effects, which I had read to be bloating and cramping. I than
told her pediatrician that we wanted to see a gastrointestinal
specialist. She told us no specialist would see us unless I
kept my daughter on the Miralax for at least a year. Meanwhile
this stuff has not been tested on children and claims to be
Sooo, now I am seeking alternative approaches. We have seen an
osteopath just once. She did some cranial work and she told us
not to give my daughter any grains! No rice, no corn, no wheat,
no rye, no oats, etc. This has been near to impossible to do.
If she can't eat grains, I can't eat them in front of her. I am
8 months pregnant and eating this way does not feel right. I
have lost 2 pounds. Besides, my daughter has showed no signs of
improvement. She has been suffering with days of constipation.
I am willing to continue with the osteopath, but cannot stick
to this no grain diet.
We have kept prunes, raisins, pears avocado, tofu, nuts, and
eggs in her diet, and have stayed away from bananas and other
foods known to be binding. The only vegetable I can get her to
eat is broccoli and sometimes spinach if it is disguised in a
quiche, but I worry about the cheese because it is binding.
Sorry so long winded here but I really need advice and truly
believe that my daughter may have a more serious internal
problem than just constipation, but I can't seem to get her
doctor to take her and me more seriously to send her to a
specialist. Any advice will help Please.
To help your little one with constipation, I have a few tidbits
of advice. I have four children, and I went throught this with
my son when he was about the same age, as have many of my
friends. A few things are essential: First, not one bit of
REFINED flour--stick exclusively to whole wheat pasta, bread
(and check label for transfat and high fructose corn syrup, both
of which complicate digestion). Mash potatoes with the skins
on, make yams which are very high fiber, etc. It's hard, but
not forever, and good for the whole family. The sprouted breads
are especially helpful. Second,give her flax seed oil every day
for the omega oils AND the laxative effect-I'd also say cod
liver but for the questions about mercury. Best to give it in a
cup of whole juice--prune or concord grape, no sugar added. No
peanut butter unless it is crunchy and unrefined, no sugar
period. Honey is okay--it's pretty laxative. It really helped
my son to have oatmeal and grapes for breakfast, a crunchy
peanut butter sandwhich with honey on whole grain bread with
seeds every single day for awhile, along with whole milk vanilla
yogurt for the cultures to keep the intestines healthy (no other
milk products), and then a simple dinner like beans cooked in
broth with carrots and onions, and homemade cornbread with whole
grain flour and unprocessed corn meal, along with a can of corn
added. And give only water as a beverage except for the flax
seed juice. Aside from diet, I also think this problem arises
first because kids can suddenly ''control'' their bowel movements,
and so delay going if having fun (note that few unpotty trained
kids have this issue). Then they have one incident, and it is
terribly painful, so they hold it more, and the problem
escalates. So I'd institute a rough and tumble play time every
evening after dinner (since exercise also ''loosens'' things up),
then a relaxing bath--I used to read to my son in the bath just
to keep him in there as long as possible. What started to
happen was that he would then REALIZE he needed to go because he
was relaxed and in touch with his little body`, get out of the
tub and go poop, then would get back in to finish the bath. I
also put lavender oil in the bath, both to soothe him to sleep
AND because any oil will lightly coat the anus and help the
feces slide out a bit more comfortably if there is irritation.
It takes about a month but this regime will clear things up
WITHOUT meds, which I personally believe are problematic and can
exacerbate the problem by creating dependence.
After much drama around poop in our baby -- our doctor finally
determined that she just has a very efficient colon -- meaning
its a super-sucker of all the water and she's left with hard
poop that she can't pass. After trying things (including
removing all grains, boosting all kinds of fruit, and variety of
laxatives and suppositories) we are on a low-dose of Milk of
Magnesia twice/day and it works great. It is non-stimulant, so
there aren't painful side-effects, and it is non-habit forming.
We're just gonna' be on it 'til she gets over this.
I am so, so sorry your daughter is suffering like this.
My son had constipation since he was an infant. He suffered for
7 years. The doctors (we saw more than one pediatrician) were
not concerned that my son could go a week without a bowel
movement. They said it he would outgrow it, that it was a
regulatory issue, etc. We tried all the usual stuff -- prunes,
fiber, fluids, mineral oil, etc. Nothing worked. Still the
doctors saw no cause for alarm. We, like you, worried that
something was seriously wrong.
In desperation, we tried the elimination diet. Basically, you
remove most things from your diet for about 2 weeks then
reintroduce items one at a time and see the effect. It turned
out my son was sensitive to dairy, corn, and soy. Dairy in
particular will make him constipated immediately. Even goat's
milk will make him constipated. I am still kicking myself for
listening to the doctors for so long and I am furious at their
cavalier attitude towards constipation. However, I am grateful
that we (quite blindly) stumbled upon the solution to my son's
problem. I wish you and your daughter the best.
Very often digestive problems can be caused by misalignment in
the spine....vertebrae are out of alignment which affect the
nerves, muscles, organ function etc.
I can highly recommend taking your babe to see Dr. Charlie
Prins, a chiropractor on Solano ave in Bkly. Charlie not only
does chiropractic adjustments (gently too) but he also uses a
muscle testing technique called applied kinesiology to find out
which parts of the body are deficient, what the body needs
Charlie has been treating me for a few years and has helped me
totally change my diet to a more healthful one that is unique
for my body. He sometimes gives me homeopathic remedies for
virus's, various weaknesses and various deficiencies.
He can test for food allergies using AK.
Charlie is also a dad and works with babies, kids and adults.
He treats me and has treated my older son for food
allergies/constant colds in the pastand is a nice guy as well.
Good luck finding someone who can help you.
His office number is 526-6243.
By the way, when I was an infant I had a similar problem due to
an ingredient in my formula (wasn't breast fed). My mom says our
family chiropractor (in 1953) cured me.
We also went through a terrible time with constipation with our
2 year old. She would hold it and then be afraid to go. We
actually had to disempact a couple times manually, and it was
like digging out rocks. It was horribly traumatic for all of
us. We tried the mineral oil route also, but what finally took
care of the problem was metamucil crackers. They sell them in
safeway. We had her eat one every day with a cup of water, and
she started going again on her own. I guess it makes the urge
too strong to not go. We probably did this for about 3 months
or so, and that was the end of that. Good luck!
saved by metamucil
I would talk to another pediatrician, if possible. Or call
around to some GI doctors to find out if what the pediatrician
says is really true (that they won't see her unless she stays on
the meds). It is hard to believe that ALL GI docs practice the
I also recommend seeking other types of help. I have used
''alternative'' medicines for most of my kid's health and medical
problems, with great sucess. One easy thing you can do is give
your daughter a firm but gentle massage on her tummy. Generally,
you would massage in large circles, clockwise, which eases the
intestines (I would probably consult a book to get the specifics
on this type of massage).
I also highly recommend the well-known and loved Homeopath,
Christine Ciavarella. Her number is 510-524-3117. She is a
wonderful resource and exceptional with children. I can also
recommend a fabulous chiropractor who does lots of cranial sacral
work (similar to an osteopath) on infants and children. Her name
is Chinabear Joseph and her number is 510-272-9019. Both my kids
have seen her since they were infants and my husband and I see
I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me directly if you want
more info about the folks I reccommeded.
Hardness of stool is related to a balance between diet and water
in the stool. Sometimes it helps to work on water intake so the
body does not pull as much liquid from the stool to make it
hard. Make sure she is drinking 6 to 8 glasses of water
throughout the day. Also, consider trying different types of
fibers (Psyillium, beet, pumpkin, flaxseed) to help as different
people respond differently to each one and some will constipate
one individual and soften another. For me corn bran is
constipating but beets and Uncle Sam's cereal with flaxseed
help. Still making sure I drink enough is the most important
a parent who deals with it herself
My daughter was constipated from birth. We finally took her to see a pediatric
gastroenterologist. We went to one in the city, Dr. Linn. They are really
comprehensive. We have also to been to one at Children's Hospital, but they were
less thorough with us. You might want to go see the practice in the city and let them
have a look. They helped us through a very difficult situation.
try Karo syrup or molasses in milk or juice. Our pediatrician
recommended these when we had this problem with our daughter.
The sugar (especially in the molasses) reacts in the gut and
eases digestion and therefore constipation...
I've been there and am there sometimes with both my children.
My son is now 5 and the constipation problems started at 12
months. My daughter is 2 1/2 and it's off and on with her for
about a year. Like you I tried many, many natural, diet related
things under our ped's. care. Even accupuncture and herbs. My
son at 18 months could go days (up to 8!) without a movement.
Needless to say, it hurt;his tummy, his mood, everything. Then
with our doctor, I said it was time for mediciation. It's a
life saver and worked easily, Lactoluse is the name. I highly
recommed it. It changed our life, made going to the bathroom
easy. For a month we did it 3 times a day, then once under
control, 2 times a day, then to 1 time a day. With my son we did
1 time a day for 2 years. Now he only rarely needs it and it
still works. My daughter has need some -one time a week for
about 6 months, now only occationaly. No side effects. Unless
you call happiness, joy and an easy potty time, side effects. I
called them trilling. Also, think about switching doctors. You
want a docotr who you feel is listening to you and your child's
needs! you deserve it.
hope it helps.
My almost 3 year old daughter has a history of constipation and is taking
miralax. She has shown interest in potty training and has all the text
book ''potty readiness'' skills. She is however more interested in
underwear than actually using the potty. She was wearing underwear
at pre-school and her teachers thought she was doing great sitting on
the potty, however she was actually starting to hold everything and
became very constipated. She is great at the holding part but not ready
to use the potty. She is now on a potty training break, prescribed by her
doctor. The most important thing is for her to just go and not hold. She
has excellent social skills and we are worried that she will sooner than
later be separted from her peers at school because of the potty issue.
We have the opportunity to switch her to what might be a better school
but may not be able becuse of the potty issue. Any ideas on next steps.
She is still interested in potty training despite her recent constipation.
My son (teenage now) was constipated from the time he ate his first solid bite until
he was 3 1/2. He was withholding, sometimes for 10-14 days, it was awful. We
tried every laxative, enemas, all to no avail. Our wonderful pediatrician (now
sniff) suggested this: Get a family of dolls and a doll toilet and some brown clay.
Set up a game where the family is going about their business and the doll kid (you
be the kid for this game) says ''Mommy I have to go poo. No, I don't want to go
poo''. We were supposed to then sit back & get insight into whatever was bugging
him & let him play his fears out, watch him play the scene out. Well, he jumped up
& said ''I HAVE TO GO POO!'' & ran off to the bathroom & was never constipated
again. It was astounding.
Sometimes a kid can work stuff out through play & we can't even see what they're
working out. The worst that can happen is you have a nice set of dolls & some
Start feeding that kid foods that will be harder to hold in, and
increase liquid consumption (a belly full of fiber, but
dehydrated, leads to straining to poop). Nice, natural ways to
ease her out of constipation include: oatmeal, watermelon, &
grapes. Increase her fruit [juicy fruits, not bananas] intake
overall for awhile until her body realizes that pooping is nice,
not hurty. Most kids are glad to eat fruit, because of sweetness.
These provide such a nice, natural lossening of the stools that
they should start coming out with no pain - and she won't be able
to hold it for extended periods; she will have to GO. After
awhile, you can go back to a more normal amount of daily fruits
to keep things balanced.
To add variety, make fruit smoothies that include plain yogurt
and cinnamon she gets to sprinkle into the blender - one sprinkle
for each year of life, so she doesn't dump the entire container in.
If one parent goes Big Potty at the same time each day, your
daughter could be added to the routine, even if it's ''Mommy will
go first, and then it's your turn to try to poop''. She doesn't
have to be in the bathroom while you're going.
OR, her routine could also be to try right after a warm bath
(which encourages muscle relaxation).
This doesn't specifically address the psychological component of
holding one's poop in, but food is a good, natural thing to use
in addition to working with the stressors. Having several
successful poops-with-no-pain is a great way to get past
Healthy Poop Promoter
This week's advice about the doll, doll toilet and brown clay is
both hilarious and helpful-sounding!
I also recommend swiping the anus with a little olive oil, to
loosen things inside. Don't push in, just use a finger or a baby
wipe with a little oil on it and one wipe on the outside, just
like if you were using toilet paper. The anus will absorb the oil
all on its own.
My 2 years old boy is chronically constipated since I introduced solid
food in his diet.He has very big and hard stools that are very painful
to pass. So far, I have been giving him mineral oil - 2 teaspoon - everyday
and try to have him drink prune juice as often as possible. Otherwise, his
diet is quiet good : he drinks quite a lot, and eats vegetables and
fruits in a regular basis. Still, as soon as this diet is not
respected, even for a day, I'm sure he will be constipated again and have
a terrible time going over it.
Does anybody have a suggestion or have experienced the same trouble
and find a durable solution ?
Thank you in advance.
My 14.5 mo. old daughter had pretty hard stools when she first started
eating solids too. Besides the fruit and vegetables, I made sure she
got plenty of WHOLE grain foods for fiber, and every morning (until just
recently) I gave her one "ice cube" of pureed prunes mixed in with her
cereal. I also avoided rice and bananas. After a while, her body
changed and now she deals fine. Good luck
My daughter(22 months) also suffers from constipation. I have her drink
at least 8 oz's of water per day. (I add the water to her milk) plus
prunes. This seems to help her pass softer stools.
My daughter had the opposite problem one summer - much diarrhea. I
looked this up in my "Doctors book of Home Remedies for Children" Rodale
Press. For constipation, one thing they mention is a spoonful of corn syrup.
And they mentioned that this is the primary ingredient in many fruit juice
popsicles. So while she was getting too loose from them, your son may
benefit from this treat. Check the label; there is one made without corn
syrup. You want the ones WITH corn syrup. Also you might try reducing
cheese (I have no idea why this works for some kids) and of course
starting the day with a cup of prune juice.
Mineral oil is a petroleum product that *takes* minerals from the body.
I advised a client who rubbed it on her very dry feet to stop. It can
also inhibit blood clotting.
Constipation (as well as diarrhea) can be a symptom of a food
allergy/sensitivity. I would suggest seeing which foods might be
clogging as well. To support his gut, it would be helpful for him to
have a probiotic (acidophilus, for example), some body work (clockwise
massage of large intestine, some Jin Shin Jyutsu, Epsom salts bath),
and maybe some flax seeds in an appropriate form (high lignan). Of
course, adequate exercise is essential.
This has been an ongoing almost-problem for our 20-month old as well. WE
find that as long as we make sure she has as much cantelope or seedless
grapes each day as she'll eat, the problem is under control. I suspect
cheeries, zucchini, and other fruit/vege type things would also do the
trick. If I run out of cantelope or grapes and she goes for a day
without these, elimination is difficult and painful. Good luck.
Foods that help for Constipation
For constipation in people of all ages, my sister has a solution that works
great and has no side effects (except the obvious). Here it is: Drink water
until your eyeballs float.
Seriously, she recommends keeping a large glass of water generally at hand,
and getting into the habit of sipping from it frequently. It works well for
her and for a lot of other people, and it's good for your body in many
ways. (My own experience is that it's better not to use mineral water,
because the carbonation can lead to gas. Tap water and spring water both
I agree with you that it is important to solve constipation problems in
very young children as quickly as possible, because little ones may react
by holding back their bowel movements for fear of discomfort, which just
adds to the problem.
A few weeks ago, there was a thread of discussion on encopresis and
constipation. Somebody wrote that she'd found Juice Plus Fiber online
and was going to try it out. I also tried it out, and it has solved
my 3-year-old's constipation problem! It's pretty expensive (about
$36 for a case of 27 juice boxes), but it worked! My son has nice
soft poo-poos now that he can't hold in. (He doesn't like the juice
boxes because the boxes aren't the same color he's used to, but we
poke a hole in the box and surruptitiously squeeze the fiber juice
into a sippy cup with regular cider or apple juice.) The juice isn't
thick or pulpy -- it looks and tastes like regular apple juice. They
also have orange and grape juice, but I haven't tried those.
Here's the website, in case anyone's interested:
http://www.earth-friendly.com/juiceplus.php3. Thanks so much to the
person who wrote about it in the first place!
If it is difficult or painful, people resist going.
Water would seem to help, as well as some foods, but
one thing I would recommend is PRUNE JUICE!!!
This works amazingly well (I used it during the week or two
after I gave birth, when fear of painful bowel movements
can be very high!).
I'm not sure what a good dose of prune juice for a child would be;
be careful-- it works very well. For me, a glass (8 or 10 ounces)
was plenty. For a 3-4-5 year old, perhaps 4 ounces.
Experiment, but start on the lower end. If I recall correctly,
it worked within an hour or two.
I would not recommend any prescriptions unless necessary
for a reason other than as a stool softener at least not
until after two natural fluids were tried regularly:
lots of water and some prune juice.
My son suffers from constipation. By trial and error
we have discovered that "Fiber One" (General Mills)
bran cereal daily works for him. BUT, "Fiber One"
contains NutraSweet so I do not want to give it to him
The first ingredient in "Fiber One" is wheat bran.
So, I bought some at El Cerrito Natural and have been
feeding him that in the morning.
My son had problems with constipation, and I knew from personal
experience how constipating wheat bran can be. Instead, I fed him
sweet potatoes and yams, with a little bran mixed in, and a good
spoonful of molasses. These are all fiber-full and have a
laxative effect, also. Sometimes I mixed applesauce in for a
sweeter flavor. He really liked this mixture and ate at least one
meal of this every day for a long time.
I saw the posting on bran to relieve constipation. I would
like to share something with the readers that really helps
for me, and perhaps it will help others too. I have suffered
from chronic constipation since I was a teenager, and my
doctor always advised me to drink a glass of warm water first
thing in the morning. For a while I disregarded his advise,
and I actually forgot about it until a few years ago. I still
don't drink it every morning, but when I do, I need to go to
the bathroom within a half an hour. Sometimes I drink a
glass of relatively hot water which usually does the trick
within a few minutes. It might not work for everyone, but it
certainly won't harm to try, especially for children (if you
can get them to drink warm water that is).
On a sideline: I have found that for my two boys, apple juice in any
quantity causes diarrhea, not the opposite, and have heard this from
some other parents as well. Not a scientific opinion, just an observation.
Somebody correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I understand apples
are a very good source of fiber and should not be restricted, but
rather recommended, to relieve constipation. Another thing that might
help is making sure he gets lots of water to drink. And you probably
know the old trick of eating prunes/prune-juice. Going on walks (on
foot, not in a stroller) is another generally healthy thing that is
supposed to be good for all sorts of things including helping the poop
along. If all that isn't enough, there is such a thing as
stool-softeners which might make things easier.
Try honey. It's a gentle natural laxative, and it's easy to mix with other
We are having some success with lactulose,
though it does cause gassy abdominal distention. Because of the gas, we'd like to switch from lactulose to mineral
oil but we're having a hard time getting it into him; even cold and
blendered, the oil quickly separates from the juice and is pretty
unappealing. What's the least gross way you know of to get mineral oil
into your cutie?
instead of mineral oil which is almost
impossible to get a child to take (do you blame them?!) try Milk of
Megnesia every night (about 10cc's) if that isn't enough you can do it
morning and night. Our son actually likes the taste of the M of M - we
put it in a dropper and he sucks it right down.
Re: getting mineral oil into a small child. There are gelatin capsules
that contain oil. You swallow the capsule, the gelatin dissolves in
your tummy, and the oil does it's thing. Whether or not you can find these
with mineral oil in them I'm not sure, but it's worth a look. Try
health food stores. I had to take mineral oil for a spell as a teenager and
it is indeed slimy, gross stuff to have to swallow.
There are emulsified versions available, although I haven't seen them
lately in the drug store. I can't remember the brand name, but a
pediatrician should know. The emulsified version should mix with juice
My child is also quite constipated. Diet doesn't seem to be the problem
- and she drinks quite a lot. In her case, it's probably hereditary. We
give her fruit juice, in addition to milk to help the problem. We also felt
she wasn't getting enough mineral oil, as it seperates so quickly. So, we
switched to Milk of Magnesia. It's tasteless in milk (although the
plastic cups get medicinal smelling at times) and seems to be working better -
although not perfectly. It's a non-dependency creating solution, no
more harmful than mineral oil - or so we've been told. Feel free to write
with any more questions. It's really a somewhat distressing problem (although
there certainly are worse ones) - so if I can be of any help, I'd be glad to
share my experiences.
You sound frustrated by your son's problems, and I don't blame you!
Good you are still nursing. Please do not use mineral oil. It is a petroleum
product that leaches minerals from the body-- no one, especially a small child,
Suggestions to try- soak 1/2 tsp flax seeds in 1/2 cup water overnight.
Whirl them in the blender with some of your milk or other palatable liquid and
offer to your son. OR you can add 1 tsp HIGH LIGNAN flax oil to his food each
day. Applesauce os supposed to clear up both diarrhea AND constipation. Stay
away from grains for now (potential allergens for which constipation may be a
symptom) and slowly introduce starchy pureed vegetables (into which you
Good luck to you!
I met a nursing woman whose son (18mos) had terrible constipation and
she indicated that it had been relieved by her taking flax seed oil thus
passing the benefits along through her breast milk. I believe it comes
in capsules which makes it easy to take.
It is my understanding that consumption of mineral oil (even in small
amounts) can lead to deficiencies of vitamins A,D,E, and K.
Mineral oil is really safe--lots of children use it long-term
without problems. The emulsified preparation is called Kondremul and it is
easy to mix with other food or liquid. Other preparations are Milk of
Magnesia that one reader mentioned--cherry flavor isn't bad-or Lactulose, a
prescription med, very expensive but your insurance may cover. Do check in
with your health care provider if your child is constipated and skipping
days--you want to resolve this problem before you're into toilet training!
(Some children don't have a bowel movement every day, but when they do it's
soft and comes out easily--you don't have to do anything about that!) I'm a
health care provider and I sometimes see children who have been constipated
and holding back their bowel movements for quite a while, and it's a tough
problem to solve.
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