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What causes acidic poo in toddlers?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
In trying to figure out some of my toddler's symptoms we ran a whole battery of tests. His stool pH was acidic (5.0, should have been 7.0-7.5) and we re-ran it, keeping him off of all fruit & juice (except a bit of watermelon) for 3 days prior. Still 5.0. He gets noticeably acidic poop when he eats too much fruit, and he's very sensitive to that, so I have to limit his fruit -- but why would it have still been acidic if he didn't have much acid at all for three days prior? (It's not burning him now or anything, but it does if he has too much fruit.) He doesn't eat tomatoes -- hates them -- and I'm pretty sure he wasn't getting any acid anywhere else. Unless it was something in my milk?

His GI system seems to be a little immature in other ways, though it's improving. (He used to be intolerant to bananas, for instance, but he's fine with them now, and the only thing I know his system doesn't like is dairy, so we avoid that completely.) Could it just be something he needs to mature into?

EDIT: No virus that I know of and I don't think he's teething.
post #2 of 13
just curious, what made you think of testing the poop? my dd sometimes tells me it hurts her to poop so i give her more fruit in hopes of making her poop softer. could i actually be making it acidic and causing her more pain?
post #3 of 13
I'm not sure of the exact causes, but the biology of it is that the acid has to be coming from his stomach and not getting nutralized in the intestines. Usually the stomach acid is nutralized very early in the intestine, and the food/waste travels at a pretty neutral pH until it exits. Some things, like fruit, can speed the rate food passes through the intestine, causing acidic poo. Other things, like very spicy foods, are too strong to be neutralized by the intestine and come out the other side with low pH.

I'm sure this is a very unpleasent thing for your DS! I don't think it is the result of acid in his diet, but more likely immature digestive function. I think gall baldder? Slowing his digetion might help a bit, so feeding foods that constapate a little might help. Sorry, I don't have better ideas.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Carrie A., his gastroenterologist ordered the test along with about 30 others, just to see what his tract is doing. We literally had a bucket full of poo sample jars and smear cards. That was an interesting week. I know that fruit causes acid poo in my kidmonster. He had some really ripe pear a couple of days in a row and that led to the nastiest open sore rash I ever saw. I hate limiting his fruit, but I think I have to until his tract matures some more.

Lunarlady, thanks for the explanation! The weird thing is it doesn't seem to bother him at all -- unless he has too much fruit, which leads to nasty acid burn diaper rashes. Usually his butt looks fine -- and he has very sensitive skin. And he never seems to be in any pain pooping. So I don't know. Maybe it's nothing more than his poo reacting to the detergent in his CDs, so he's getting false positives? And re: constipating foods, he only poops once-twice a day as it is, it's not like he's having diarrhea.

We already know his tract is immature -- his iron binding capacity, for instance, is low but slowly increasing. His GI says that at age 3 he might have caught up altogether. It's just maddening not knowing if we're dealing with unknown food intolerances because apart from the acid poo, he has virtually no symptoms. And we wouldn't've known about the acid poo (apart from the fruit overdose poos) if it weren't for this test. Wonder how many people have weird poo pH without knowing about it -- just because they weren't tested!
post #5 of 13
I know exactly what you are talking about. How old is your DS? Both of my kids did this up until around 1 year of age. The poo was so acidic and the worst smell imaginable and would burn their skin almost immediately after a poo (well give it a bad rash). I cut out all sorts of stuff but it would still happen randomly. My kid could eat 5 clementines and not have any problems for days and then nothing acidic and get one, so I still have no idea. I'm no help to you! But i'm glad someone else knows what I am talking about.
All i CAN say is that it went away with time. Hugs to your little one!
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
He's 29 months, but his GI tract seems a little immature, so hopefully he'll grow out of it!
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
So nobody thinks this is something I should worry about if it doesn't seem to bother him?
post #8 of 13
We went through a whole nightmare related to DS's poop starting when he was about 13 months old (he's 3 1/2 now). He had constant diarrhea for six months straight. They never tested the pH, but it was very sour smelling and burned is his poor little bottom, so I'm sure it was acidic. The GI specialist was a moron. Finally I talked to a lactation consultant and she said he was likely getting too much foremilk! It was something I hadn't thought about in ages, but since his nursing habits had changed as a toddler, he would nurse about 20 times a day for a minute or two each time, and I would switch every time. She suggested block nursing in four hour chunks. So I didn't change anything about HIS nursing habits, but I would stick to one side for four hours, no matter how often or how short he nursed, then switch to the other side. No more diarrhea, no more sour smell, no more burned bottom. It might not be the same thing, since it sounds like your son is getting a lot more "big kid" food at 29 months than mine was at 13 months (he was on a nearly complete eating strike at the time), but it's a suggestion.
post #9 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by mkmama View Post
I know exactly what you are talking about. How old is your DS? Both of my kids did this up until around 1 year of age. The poo was so acidic and the worst smell imaginable and would burn their skin almost immediately after a poo (well give it a bad rash). I cut out all sorts of stuff but it would still happen randomly. My kid could eat 5 clementines and not have any problems for days and then nothing acidic and get one, so I still have no idea. I'm no help to you! But i'm glad someone else knows what I am talking about.
All i CAN say is that it went away with time. Hugs to your little one!
This is both of my kids... I did notice that dairy causes more frequent runnier poo so we cut that out but this happens randomly with DD, just like it did DS. I've honestly given up on trying to figure out what it is...

In reality, ALL childrens guts are immature. And we all have levels of acid in our feces. It's part of our make up. Some foods make it worse (DD also reacts a bit to corn, but I think it's because the body doesn't process it and she poops it back out in the same form it went in) but I can never find a true trigger. We thought it was fruit, cut it out and it didn't change. We discovered dairy in excess so we've cut out direct dairy and it's still happening. I may be a bad mom, but I gave up. I give her probiotics and avoid the things that I know don't help and just treat her bum when it gets red again. It DOES go away... DS had issues with 'acid poo burn/rash' until he PL'd. I figure it's just my kids and as long as I keep it in check best I can, then I'm doing what I can. Sometimes there's no real way to 'fix' a digestive issue when it's not an allergy. Their GI systems will mature, we just have to be patient!

Just my 2 cents...
post #10 of 13
Thread Starter 
Interesting, thanks! I'm driving myself crazy today because he's had a cold for a week which gave him diarrhea (his system offloading the virus I guess) and nasty NASTY acid burn butt, but now some days later his poop is solid again and now, while he doesn't have the acid butt thing, he has the angry red ring around the butthole and I don't know if it's the virus or something I fed him -- or his system getting used to probiotics, which I started the other day. Aaaagh.

Well, the good news is he's working hardcore on PLing these days, so hopefully soon we won't be dealing with this anymore! I just wonder, if his poop is so evil on his bottom, what's it doing to him on the inside that I can't see? Poor noodle.
post #11 of 13

Hello!  I joined this website just to answer your inquiry.  I know your question is a bit outdated, but perhaps I might be able to help other mothers who are currently experiencing this.  Needless to say, my son (now 16 months) went through the exact SAME thing as many of the mothers described above.  The ONLY thing that made a difference was supplementing him with infant pro-biotics.  I'm talking NIGHT AND DAY(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) difference.  His recurrent, stubborn, painful rashes cleared up within a few days as his stool returned to normal, healthy person-poo.  I got the infant pro-biotics at a health food store and used the recommended serving, which is like 1/4 teaspoon a day, served in his warmed milk.  Do some research on it, ask the health store employee, etc.  Just check it out and strongly consider it an option.  I am a huge advocate now.  It saved our sanity!

post #12 of 13

thanks for the insightful tips everyone...iNFANT PROBIOTICS WILL HELP?- like what ? yoghurt ?

post #13 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gammy View Post

thanks for the insightful tips everyone...iNFANT PROBIOTICS WILL HELP?- like what ? yoghurt ?

 

Well, in the OP's case yogurt is a no-go since her DS doesn't do well on dairy, but there are supplemental probiotics for infants.  There are fermented pickles, kombucha, water kefir as well.  My DS takes Threelac, which is a powdered probiotic.

 

OP - have you heard of the GAPS diet?  If he is having gut issues, GAPS will work wonders; it's aimed specifically at healing the gut and re-establishing good flora.

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