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Treating a Child with Constipation

My grandson refuses to move his bowels because he says the smell makes him gag and it hurts really bad. He is also afraid of the pain. We have talked to his doctor about this, but all they did was take x-rays of the bowel and confirm constipation.

He cries all day in pain. We are concerned, but have no help from the doctor and don't know what else to do. He has taken medication to loosen his bowels with little success.

By Kathy from Buffalo, NY


Treating a Child with Constipation

How old is the child? If the doc says it's okay you can give an enema. If you think it' more serious, go to the emergency room or see a different doctor, maybe a Gastroenterologist. (05/24/2010)


By OliveOyl

Treating a Child with Constipation

I have an adult developmentally disabled daughter who we had the same problem with, and one day she was in so much pain that we took her to the doctor and he in turn sent us to the emergency room for an enema, and then it was better for several years.

In the early 90s when she was about 30 years old the same problem occurred and it didn't become noticeable until evening, so I took her to the Er and they gave her a suppository for me to administer when we got home. I knew she wouldn't co-operate with me at all so I asked if they could do at the ER and they did. By the time we got home it worked.

By that time she was emotionally mature enough that she found the experience humiliating and since then whenever she as trouble with a BM she uses a pkg. of Metamucil wafers(something like a graham cracker). From the time that she had the suppository until now she functions anywhere between the ages of 10-12 years old. I hope these ideas help. (05/24/2010)

By redhatterb

Treating a Child with Constipation

Hmmm. The doctor diagnosed (or confirmed) the constipation, but isn't helping with getting it cleared? That would make me look at finding a new pediatrician.

My daughter had lots of problems with constipation. We had to be very careful about letting her eat cheese or rice. We tried to eat 100% whole grains, and other high fiber foods. She got lots of water, and some apple juice. If I suspected she was having problems, I could spike her apple juice with some prune juice, and sometimes that would take care of it.


Some of the things we tried (suggested by the doctor) were adding a little mineral oil to her drink - helps lubricate and ease out the stools. We've tried glycerin suppositories, but she absolutely hates those, so if we have a problem anymore, we try something else. They told us to use Miralax (pharmacist told us how much to use for her). And we've used enemas.

You need to get this cleared out. Then you need help in figuring out how to avoid this from happening again (we drink almost exclusively water, increased fruits and veggies, and are careful with rice and cheese). His doctor should be supportive and helpful - it's in the best interest of the child. If his doctor isn't helpful, it's time to look for another doctor. Best of luck - I hope things are moving smoothly for him soon. I've been there and done that, and I know that it's miserable.


By mrs.story

Treating a Child with Constipation

And (sorry I forgot to mention this the first time), you say he refuses to poop because it stinks and it hurts. I don't know how old he is, but has anyone explained that the body MUST get rid of its waste? And the longer the stools stay in his body, the more dried they become, and the harder they are to push out. Try to explain to him that keeping it in his body could make him more and more sick, plus if he goes more often it'll be easier.

My adult best friend is having a serious problem with constipation right now, and she's seen several specialists. This is not a road he wants to go down, because if it gets bad enough, he can throw it up (I didn't know about that -- her doctor told her about it), or his intestines can burst. VERY bad things.

Again, good luck, and I hope that his situation improves very soon. (05/24/2010)

By mrs.story

Treating a Child with Constipation

Be sure to feed him fresh fruits and veggiess and juice. Try to get him to drink lots of water. If he has a proper diet, he should not have constipation on a regular basis. This may do the trick. If he eats properly and drinks fluids and is still constipated, you should consult the doctor again. (05/25/2010)

By Stngray

Treating a Child with Constipation

Change doctors asap. You are paying this one for doing nothing. (05/25/2010)

By Lilac

Treating a Child with Constipation

Ditto on going to another doctor, please, and ASAP!

You don't mention the age of your grandchild but I can't help but wonder why in the world the smell would bother a child so much that they couldn't go poop and that it hurts too? I am not trying to scare you but something is not right whether physically and/or emotionally! (05/25/2010)

By Deeli

Treating a Child with Constipation

My daughter had the same thing when she was 5. The doctor told us to get Senecot for children (behind pharmacy counter) and give her 1/2 of the dosage on the label for her age once a day with 8 oz. of water. It took about a week until it finally began to work. She did have a short period of cramps, not enough for her to cry, but she felt like she had to go and naturally Mommy had to go and stay with her during the process.

It was a while, but no harsh pains or anything too large to pass, normal and regular, just a long slow process that night. The next morning she was like a new child. From then on we made sure she had plenty of fiber, etc. and she even like to eat prunes, which was great because the taste of the prune juice made her gag. That was 17 years ago.

When I was a child, Fleet enemas was the big thing and I would never do that to my child unless absolutely necessary. That was avoided and the Senecot worked wonders. Good Luck, and I would suggest changing physicians. (05/25/2010)

By MzV

Treating a Child with Constipation

Have you tried feeding him prunes? They are really great for curing constipation. And they are sweet so kids should like them. Always works for me. (05/25/2010)


By lindylou28546

Treating a Child with Constipation

Check with your doctor. Our doctor recommended Milk of magnesia. We use the cherry flavor but only once in a while, like if he hasn't gone in over 3 days.

We've also been pushing raisins and dried mangoes, apricots, prunes. Any fibrous dried fruit we can get him to eat. Lots of water if you can get them to drink it. (05/25/2010)

By maranara

Treating a Child with Constipation

Try prunes or prune juice; also it appears the Doctor is not helping you. Switch to another Doctor. (05/25/2010)

By moravice

Treating a Child with Constipation

My grand-daughter wouldn't go and then was unable to go. The Dr. told my son to get Movicol (this is usually for adults) and I was worried, but apparently it worked out OK for her. She is 10 years old and it has always been a problem with her since early childhood. I don't know if you can get it the US. (05/25/2010)

By Sharylesley

Treating a Child with Constipation

One reason constipation is so bad is the bowel movement dries out hard at the opening. If the child will let you put a dollop of Vaseline in that area especially at bed time and it will moisten it and make the movement easier. I have tried this and it works. (05/26/2010)

By grannygirl

Treating a Child with Constipation

My son had this problem at the when he was 4 years old and his belly had become larger than normal. He messed himself all the time. I took him to an old doctor in town and the doctor went and got his medical book. There he found what is called "encopresis" (not sure I spelled it right). He sent my son to the hospital where they cleaned him out and the doctor gave me a prescription for Senecot. It worked great.The doctor said he would grow out of it by the time he reached his teen years and he did.

I believe this happened because we lived with an emotional and physically abusive husband/father who took all his frustration out on me in front of the kids. I eventually left this man and took my kids away from the situation.
You might want to look into the family and see if there's a problem to cause this child to be afraid, it could be something he's not telling that's causing this problem.
Good luck! (05/26/2010)

By SewnVa

Treating a Child with Constipation

Feed him Activia yogurt every day, from now on.

By Lily May

Treating a Child with Constipation

Miralax use to be a prescription based laxative which is now available over the counter. MY GI doc prescribed it for me and i use about 1/2 the recommended dose most days (but not all) of the week. it dissolves in any liquid, there are no side effect (like cramping) and it actually creates the urge to go! Worked for me-but I am 52 and have been chronically constipated since I was very young! (05/26/2010)

By Skibum1910

Treating a Child with Constipation

Please, please have someone who is knowledgeable in child abuse talk with your grandson, especially if that "doctor" only x-rayed, but did not examine him. (05/26/2010)

By MddsonMorg

Treating a Child with Constipation

When one of my children (now 44 yrs. old) had a constipation problem, one of the things that the doctor told me to do was have him sit in a bathtub of warm water that covered his belly. Of course, he just thought he was getting extra playtime. We did enemas, suppositories, etc., too. But as soon as I recognized some of the signs, I popped him in the bathtub. Believe it or not, it did help.

By Martina

Treating a Child with Constipation

Kathy - hope things are moving along better now. What we have tried with our now 6 1/2 year old granddaughter with the same problem is to place in a warm bubble bath (bubbles act somewhat as a laxative when sitting in them) covering her mid section with the warm water.

After bathing, she would have a high fiber snack (graham crackers and fruit) and sometimes put a warm towel around her belly - depending on how painful she said she was. Sometimes we even gave her a heating pad for her tummy when she went to bed. The next day, if still no bowel movement, after a high fiber breakfast with lots of water, we would play a game of tag or something to get her body moving and then try a warm bath again. Always worked by then.

As some other posts have suggested, there may be something else bothering your grandchild. It may not be much; kids are often over-sensitive. With our granddaughter, we discovered that she liked the extra time and attention Grammie and Papa could give her because of their "quieter" life. Her (single) Mom often was too tired from working and busy life-style and such to spend much time with daughter and, as a result, our granddaughter discovered ways to feel special with extra attention.

Often a family doctor picks up on things to cause problems in younger children. Maybe you can see someone else in the doctor's practice if not able to change physicians' offices. We did and a "new take" has helped out in many areas! Best of luck and enjoy your grandson. (06/01/2010)

By myhomemadedolly


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