Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Weekend wonderings: Constipation's complicated

It has been one crazy weekend.  Wedding anniversary dinner (this was months overdue!) and playdate with a church friend.  The hubby's parents coming down for a visit (they are now staying with us for a week).  Packing for the hubby's overseas trip and settling all those last minute things before the trip.  And to top it all off, the boy's constipation decided to flare up again.

Its been something that has been bothering the boy for the past 2 months or so.  (Warning, gross talk ahead.)  The boy has a habit of pooping once every 2 days, and this has been continuing as the norm and doesn't seem to bother him much, as the poop is pretty soft.  However, recently we've noticed that he's been having some difficulty pooping, and would have many "false alarms" before he actually poops.  On days that the poop is "due", we sometimes have to stay at home the whole day, simply because we'd have to run to the toilet about 10-20 times, and the boy seems to have a phobia of pooping in public toilets.  Most of these trips would see us sitting there hopefully, while he sits there, swings his legs, and tells you "no poo poo", while the "successful" trips see the poop being passed out in bits (hence it takes about 3-4 trips before he can clear his bowels).  It can get rather frustrating, especially if these "false alarms" come when I'm in the midst of cooking (once, it took me ages to get porridge prepared, since I was running to and fro from kitchen and toilet, while trying to peel and chop veggies in 1 minute intervals)... On some rare occasions, the poop never comes and he ends up waking up in the middle of the night, tired, but really uncomfortable and needing to poop.

It got pretty bad on Sunday.  The boy refused to go down for his afternoon nap (I admit I got rather frustrated with him, but in retrospect he might have been really uncomfortable and unable to sleep.), then refused to eat dinner because he was really exhausted.  We had to make numerous trips (at about every 5 minutes!) to the toilet.  No poopoo in sight, just a whole bunch of stained underpants piling up.  This goes on and on for what seems to be forever.  Little boy is tired but can't sleep, starts throwing tantrums and the toilet trips continue.  Finally he manages to poop around 9 pm and all the offending stuff comes out (you can always know when that happens, from the loud cheering in the toilet from us, and a "I will get a sticker!" from the little boy...).

I must admit its been driving us rather nuts.  We suspect that he has the tendency to try to hold in the poop for some strange reason (some days we can see him uncomfortable, but refusing to go to the toilet).  So we've been implementing all the usual remedies: Probiotics, prunes, prune juice, fruits like pear and papaya and other fibre-rich foods, lots of water and even a dose of flax oil every morning.  While he used to love fruits, getting him to eat more fruits now sometimes proves to be a problem as he isn't eating too well in general these days, but usually we manage to get in a decent amount of fibre into his diet (along with veggies and some brown rice).  We've even resorted to lactulose as prescribed by our PD, and have been trying to explain to him the need to push all the stuff out.  He seems to be trying at times (and sometimes it breaks my heart to hear him tell me "I will get stickers when I poopoo", followed by him counting on his fingers how many he will get!)... so hopefully it'll get better!  Meanwhile, any advice, or your experiences battling this would be welcome...


  1. Hi how about drink more water or yogurt? Jelly helps my kids to poo too. Since I started to give my boy vit c he poos regularly.
    Would washing his bum after he successful did it make it less painful hence less phobia of pushing harder?
    Maybe rub some ruyi oil on his tummy before bed will make his sleep better?
    It must be really testing on yr patience. Hopefully these period of cooler weather will make it more bearable for you. Keeping you and yr boy in my prayer.

  2. CE: We've been giving him alot of water, so much that he has to keep running to pee! We also wash his butt... :) Thanks for the jelly and vit c suggestions! Is it konnyaku jelly that you give him, or agar agar? And thanks so much for praying, really appreciate it! :)

  3. My mum has this theory that constipation is brought on by heatiness. Not sure if that's true but no harm trying to give him cooling drinks like barley, chrysanthemum tea etc :)

  4. Funny, I'm just like CE - water and orange juice works for my kids! Porridge causes problems - I'm suspecting because it's low residue. Hang in there! It must be so tough doing all that running around with the belly in the way :(

  5. Olimomok: Ok, cooling drinks... got it, thanks!

    AlasMyDear: Thanks! OJ makes the kid cough, but might try it out to see if it helps... its driving us nuts!

  6. hi Jus
    Lj used to have constipation quite often. The prune juice and water is mainly for maintaining his regularity. When he's really stuck, our PD got us to use Miralax. not sure if u can find it otc in SG. I love that stuff. Really gentle. Softens poo by making the colon absorb more water so it's easy to pass out. Just a tsp into his 6-8oz juice/water.
    Lj was on this for abt a week. Then back to prune juice and fruits for maintanence.

    We also used suppositories on him. Yup. When he was passing really hard bits, and staining and crying. The PD had us cut the thing in half, smear lub on, stuff it in, and volia! Didnt use this method too oftedn cos it's habit forming. But really helps him to push out the nasties.

    Another thing to use is ear buds smeared with lub instead. U'd have to insert gently and tease it in and out to stimulate. This again, is habit forming so don't do it often. Once or twice in a while is ok.

    Have u tried bananas? Good luck to the little guy!
    Let us know how it goes.

  7. Hey Jus, I understand what it is like. Remember me telling you before that Nicole used to have really bad constipations when she was younger? It could go up to ten days. Now the constipation is gone.

    I won't elaborate here of what had happened and what I had done, as my comment here will become too long.

    I have blogged about solving Nic's constipation in my article Constipation solved. Go to http://www.moremoreplease.com/food-and-recipes/constipation-solved-biotta-digest/ to find out more what I did.

    However, I must stress that every child is different and responds differently.

    In short, cut down any high protein food for the time being till the vicious cycle of enlarged large intestines shrink to its normal size and give easily digested food. No toast, oven-cooked food, white flour food, no bananas (for young children, it is not good, while it is the reverse for adults).

    Give more steamy, watery fibre rich food. Also try feeding him green bean soup added with brown molasses (no white sugar) and more stomach (clockwise)and leg massages. Plus let him drink Biotta Digest and pass the BM control over to Jude.

    Hope it helps. Let me know the good news. Cheers!

  8. Sophie has been having pooing problems for months. She used to have constipation then it developed into a fear for pooing and would refuse to let go even when she go clearly needs to go.

    Changed milk powder from Mamil Gold to Friso
    Prune juice. We diluted it with water as we found it too sweet
    Dragon Fruit
    Vitagen/ Yakult
    Lactus prescribed by the PD and he mentioned it can be taken daily to soften the stools
    Probiotics- Primadophilus from Nature’s Way

    You can read more about what we tried... http://ajugglingmom.com/2011/08/when-shi-doesnt-happen/
    Sophie is still fearful of pooing which we hope is a phase that will pass very very soon. I can empathize with your situation

  9. Use suppositories. Works like a charm. Everything out in 30 min time.

  10. Sounds alot like the problem Kyle used to have at Jude's age. I think it is all psychological...somehow, there is something that Jude is not comfortable about. Then I had to put Kyle in the diaper (even when he was already toilet trained) then he was willing to poo.

    It will pass for sure, but I can totally understand how worrying and tedious it is in the meantime, plus taxing since u are already quite advanced in your pregnancy.

    Can't give u any better advice except to pray that everything will fall in place soon.

  11. SY: Thanks my dear for sharing what works with LJ... actually, our PD said no bananas as they may make constipation worse? We've tried suppositories, but he gets really upset, and poops out the thing before it works, so we ditched that... Perhaps we'll try half the thing like you suggested in times of desperation!

    Sue Ann: Thanks for the tips! Have read your blog, guess we'll keep trying to be patient... Wow, you really went through a tough time with Nic, seeing how bad her case was previously... glad her's has resolved!

  12. Susan: Thanks so much! I think its the same here, he seems to resist the urge to go, which compounds the problem... sigh...

    Actually your list seems almost identical to mine! We've been using the lactulose too, along with all those fruits you listed. We find dragonfruit's pretty helpful! You hang in there too ya!

  13. Gapa: Unfortunately it doesn't work for us... J gets super upset the past few times we tried, and then pops out the thing before it gets a chance to work! But thanks anyway!

    Rachel: I totally know what you mean when you mentioned it was psychological! Guess have to keep praying (I've taken to muttering prayers during every toilet trip actually, and sometimes you hear "Hurrah, thank you God!" when the poop does come! Haha.)

  14. My boy has been pooping on average once in 2-4 days. I give him 4 days as an ultimatum.

    For him, 1-2 prunes a day works best and he starts pooping every 1-2 days. But there're weeks when he'd refuse to eat any prune.

    Tummy massage (clockwise and top to bottom) is very important too. You can do this a few times a day.

    High-fibre diet can lead to constipation if not combined with sufficient fluids and oils intake. My boy is mainly vegetarian, eating mostly whole grains, veges, fruits and beans. That's probably the reason for his irregular output.

  15. Mievee: Wow, at least the prunes seem to work! And thanks for the tip on the fluids and oils... we've been getting him to drink more water and he's on flax oil too, so that seems to help soften the stools, just that he sometimes just doesn't want to go, even when the urge obviously is there...

  16. The prunes do wonder indeed. I get vacuum-packed fresh organic prunes from health stores or Cold Storage in KL. No unnecessary additives like the packet or bottled ones.

    For myself, I get a little constipated due to pregnancy. After eating 3 prunes, I almost get diarrhoea. Ha!

    Same, Vee doesn't want to go sometimes when he obviously has some urge. I coax him to sit on the potty by reading / singing / etc. Then massage his tummy when he's on the potty, to speed things up a little. Best to do this in a dim room with minimal distractions. We get more success before or after nap time, when he's tuned down.

    As for oils, I ensure he gets some oil (vegetable or olive oil) with his meals daily. Can be lightly-stir fried pasta / noodles or vegetables. Or just sprinkle a little over his meal.

    Also lots of soup to go with his meals because he's a soupy boy who doesn't drink that much water.



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