Hard vs. Soft Poops
Berkeley Parents Network >
The Potty >
Hard vs. Soft Poops
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.
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!
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
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.
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?
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
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
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.
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).
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.
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!
this page was last updated: Feb 17, 2007
BPN is now a 501(c)(3) non-profit and we are building a new website!
Read more, and see how you can help:
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network