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Hard vs. Soft Poops

Berkeley Parents Network > Advice > The Potty > Hard vs. Soft Poops



Chronic loose stools in 4 year old twins

March 2004

For almost a year now my 4 year old twins have been suffering from loose bowel movements. It all started when they contracted Giardia from a previous preschool last Feb 2003 or so. They were treated with Furozolodine (sp?) last May (2003) and that helped some, but they are still not back to normal. They also had a few runs of antibiotics and subsequently had some yeast problems in the Fall of 2003 when they first started preschool and began getting lots of ''preschool colds''. They have been to a GI doctor and tested for possible causes (parasites, c-dificil- all negative). She does not believe it to be inflamatory bowel disease or Crohns disease as they are still growing and flourishing and there is no blood in the stool. They just don't have normal bowel movements. They have been off dairy for almost two months with no change. Does anyone have any ideas here? I'm tired to just sitting back helplessly and getting no answers from anyone. Thanks


If you haven't already, you should try to give your kids probiotics, especially acidophilus and bifido bacteria. Antibiotics and anti-parasitics will knock out the good flora from the gut as well as the bad, and the good guys need to be replaced or the digestive tract doesn't function optimally. Also, without the good bacteria, you can set yourself up for yeast overgrowth. There are lots of probiotics supplements available, and some are better than others. Be sure you get one that has both acidophilus and bifido bacteria in it (important at this age) and ideally one that is in a powder or liquid to get it down. I don't know most of the over the counter brands, but Metagenics, which is a practitioner-only supplement line, makes a good powder that I think they sell at Pharmaca on Solano. jarrow also makes good probiotic products. Good luck! Tara
My son had problems like that we he got Giardia in kindergarten. The Giardia antigen tests became negative, but the diarrhea kept coming back. We finally put everyone in the house including the pets on 10 days of flagyl (metronidazole) and it finally cleared. I had to crush up the flagyl and load it in very small capsules to get it down but there is a liquid formulation available from Mexico. I am a vet, and recent evidence in pets is that you continue to carry Giardia at some level forever (they isolate it by PCR)and that your body has an inflammatory reaction to keep it under control initially. We used no milk for about a year around that time just to help things out. Would love to hear if other folks have run into this also. A vet who has been there with her kids
My daughter had chronic loose stools from day one with no other symptoms. As she was my first child I thought this was normal. However, when potty training became difficult we looked deeper and it turns out she was/is lactose intolerant. Once we took her off milk, she has been fine with normal stools. It's an easy problem to deal with - lactaid milk and lactaid pills with the first bite a milk-containing food. This makes birthday parties easy. There is also a new lactose free organic milk. Take him/her off of all milk products for a few weeks and see what happens. Good luck. Anon. Anon
My son (16 months) has also had loose stools since an episode of diarrhea when he was 8 or 9 months old, and all parasite tests have come back negative. I didn't think it had anything to do with Giardia until I saw an answer to your posting a couple of weeks ago. I had Giardia about 15 years ago, and about 2 years ago, right before my pregnancy, developed some Giardia-like symptoms (including nausea, loose stools, and weight loss), which got much much worse during the pregnancy, and continue on now (although in a less severe form). We did several Giardia tests and all were negative. I saw the posting by the vet who treated her whole family with Flagyl and talked about the recent veterinary studies about the persistance of Giardia and the body's inflammatory response and wondered if she (or anyone) could provide more information about this research. I am very curious and would be grateful for any leads!
I would highly recommend putting your twins on a gluten- free diet. One of the symptoms can be chronic loose stools as well as many other health related problems. The condition is called Celiac disease. I also responded to a posting about gluten-free foods for twins with chronic diarreah. Could that have been you? Laurey
I am the vet who pushed my family's physicians to put us all on Metronidazole and managed to clear the chronic diarrhea. I treated my pets at the same time to be safe. The doctor that I know who has done the most research on Giardia is Michael Lappin from Colorado state. (You probably can find some of his work on the internet via VIN etc) I am not sure if it is in his published articles, but I was speaking with him at a conference, and he mentioned that when he used the PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test to isolate giardia, he questioned whether he cleared the infection completely by treating it. In our practice in Oakland, Giardia is one of the leading parasites we see in pets. I suspect we are doing a good job controlling other parasites with monthly heartworm preventative but Giardia is not covered by that. In addition, Giardia does not show up on standard fecal tests. My best success is with the Giardia antigen test run by outside labs. I did read somewhere that kaopectate and pepto bismol can produce false negatives for this test by binding the antigen, so be careful what is given in the few days before the sample for the test is collected. a local vet

Consistency of one-year-old's poops all over the map

May 2002

I am wondering what range of stool consistency is considered normal for a one year old who is eating a lot of solid food. My son's stools tend to be on the ''sticky'' end of spectrum (i.e. sticking to his diapers and making it hard to flush them down the toilet). I know that they definitely get more solid when he eats more rice than wheat -- I am sure there are other factors, but before I decide that I even need to start tracking them down, I thought I'd ask what other parents' experiences have been. Thanks. Teresa


my child is now 3 and his poops have always been all over the map in terms of color, consistency etc., from soup to rocks. Makes diaper changing a constant thrill. I think this is OK... their systems just aren't developed enough to really process the different stuff they get into nice perfect poops every time. Fran
Just a thought: you mentioned that his stools are more solid when he eats rice than when he eats wheat. If he had a sensitivity to gluten (wheat and barley) then this could explain is - gluten is harder to digest, so it passes through faster, ergo the softer poops.
I had this same concern about my 1 1/2 yr. old and just talked to my pediatrician about it last week. She said that everybody's poop is different and I shouldn't worry unless it is obviously diarrhea (ie. watery). Margaret
Ah, the joys of parenting! Ah, the obsession with poop! Your son's poops sound fine to me. I recall the lovely butt-shaped ''poo pancakes'' my son would produce in his diaper. Poop is good if it's soft, as it is easier to come out. One friend of mine, who has a child with gluten and casein allergies, was told by her pediatrican that good poop has the consistency of yogurt. Her child had really bad explosive, rank, runny, gross nasty stuff. I mean, no poop is really pretty but you could just tell by looking at it that there was something wrong with this poor kid. Sounds like yours is not in this category. You can try a few things to deal with the poo issue:1) Use a special (i.e. used for nothing else) rubber spatula to scrape the poo into the toilet or 2) use paper biodegradable liners in the diaper (available online). When your son poops, throw the liner+poop into the toilet and flush away. Most of the poop will have been caught by the liner and you can either scrape the rest off or deal with the diaper accordingly (you don't mention whether you are using disposables or cloth). Hope this gives you some perspective. Laurel
Hello! I am the Family Director at the Berkeley Y. In my role, I have changed literally hundreds of diapers on hundreds of different children. The range can be from very loose to constipated. Diet can make quite a difference, but your situation seems normal. Watermelon and other fruits loosen stools, while bran and other fibers can help turn things the other direction. Good luck! Eden
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