Chronic constipation in 7 year old.... - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 23 Old 11-03-2010, 12:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ugh, we went through this with my youngest son from birth till about 3 years old. He's now 5 and no constipation problems. 'His was caused by dairy intolerance, but now he's able to eat small amounts of cheese without problems, but no milk.

Oldest ds just turned 7. He's had occasional issues with constipation for a few years now. But for the past 4 or 5 months it's been horrible. All of the sudden he would go running for the bathroom with his butt cheeks clenched together and sometiems he would claim he didn't have to go anymore. We started a nightly routine where he would HAVE to sit on the toilet for 20 minutes before bed. Still he would sometimes go 7, 8, 9, 10 days without a bowel movement. We never really knew because he would go to the bathroom and wipe on his own. The few times we did know for sure about were because he plugged the toilet. His poops are seriously 3 inches in width. I cannot believe he can poop something that big.

About two weeks ago we had suspected he was quite constipated. He kept telling us that he had pooped in the morning, but we noticed his tummy getting harder and bigger and he wasn't eating much. One night when he went to bed I felt his tummy and it felt snakey....the same way my youngest sons tummy felt when he had a bowel obstruction. So I gave ds a dose of lactulose and he went to bed. Woke up the next morning and claimed to have gone poop, but the bathroom never smelled, no plugged toilet, etc. So I sent him to school and I got a call a little while later that he was really sick. Went to pick him up and he had thrown up. I brought him home and got him changed into his pajamas and his tummy was SUPER hard. I was getting scared at this point because I didn't want him to go through the same thing as youngest ds when he had his bowel obstruction. I gave him a full dose of pico-salax (bowel purge). Within a few hours ds had pooped a HUGE plug, followed by a LOT of formed and loose BM. I explained to DS how that BM being in his tummy for so long makes him sick, he understood and said how much it hurt and he understands now that he needs to go to the bathroom at least once a day and he needs to drink more water.

You'd think that would make him reazlize the problem...but he doesn't. We are back to the same problem. His tummy is soooo hard and he claims he's pooped, but I know 100% that he has not. I have to CONSTANTLY nag him to drink water. If I don't remind him to drink, he will go all day without a single drink. I've even tried doing 1/2 fruit juice and 1/2 water and he still won't drink. Only thing he will drink lots of is sweetened iced tea but of course it's so full of sugar. He does milk in his cereal, but we don't do glasses of milk. I've tried giving him almond milk instead but he hates it, refuses to eat anythign with almond milk on it, etc. I'm honestly not sure if he has problems with dairy anyways.

He eats plenty of fiber. Breakfast is always either oatmeal with some added flax or mini wheats. I buy whole grain bread. We could do more raw veggies, but he eats plenty of fruit.

I'm so frustrated and sad for my son. I don't want him to be sick. I want him to be healthy...but I'm just not sure how to approach it.
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#2 of 23 Old 11-03-2010, 12:59 PM
 
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My DD1 is six, and experienced terrible constipation as a four and five year old. She wouldn't go at all for days and days, and then have BMs that were seriously bigger than my cat- toilet pluggers just like you describe. The ped pushed fiber, and DD got a LOT of it, but it just made the poops bigger, and they were even harder to pass.

What I did for her:
1. more dietary fat-- seriously, more fats. Have you tried coconut milk? I load DD up with fresh Jersey cream, and butter, and olive oil, and avocado, and peanut butter, and really rich cheeses, and walnuts, and fatty fish.

2. Probiotics-- not just probiotic supplements, either-- lots of foods with live cultures. She eats home-cultured yogurt, and recently we've learned to culture buttermilk as well. She eats fermented sauerkraut and pickles too.

3. Eliminating white flour foods and sugar entirely.

4. A routine of sitting on the toilet after each meal, for a specified period of time, to develop a routine.

Good luck-- it was a long battle, for us, of eliminating foods and tweaking her diet and working on the emotional parts of the problem, but she's doing well now.

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#3 of 23 Old 11-04-2010, 02:34 PM
 
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The first thing I'd try is magnesium citrate, at least 300mg (ideally divided up into two doses).

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. ~Jonathan Kozel
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#4 of 23 Old 11-04-2010, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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The first thing I'd try is magnesium citrate, at least 300mg (ideally divided up into two doses).
I've tried natural calm.....wouldn't that be the same thing?
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#5 of 23 Old 11-05-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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Dairy is almost always constipating though, anyway. Lack of water could be contributing to the problem I'm sure. When battleing things like that with my kids I would probably tell them that they couldn't have dinner (or any meal) until they drank a glass of water first. They would fight it first but soon learn that I really meant that there is no way I was going to let them eat until they drank the water. Most kids will just drink the water when they get hungry enough (and it usually happens quicker than you might think!).

Green leafies are important if you can try to get those in him. You want to do only whole grains. Do you know if he has any allergies? Those for sure would slow down elimination. I keep an emergency herbal laxative on hand for my kids, but that is only for occassional constipation. Constipation is a serious issue and if it is prolonged has some long-term problems.

Kimberly DH of 8 years DS 08/2002 DS 04/2005 DD 11/2007
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#6 of 23 Old 11-06-2010, 12:01 AM
 
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i too would pull out dairy, increase the natural calm and water, and really stick to a poop schedule. my ds for a long time had constipation issues, even after i was dairy-free. so we instituted a pee/poop - pyjamas - brush teeth routine at bed. i think he's only ever pooped outside of that routine ... what, 5 times? and only 2-3 x at daycare.

is he itching his bottom? is he grinding his teeth at night? are you open to homeopathy?

Jennifer, Naturopath and mom

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#7 of 23 Old 11-06-2010, 12:23 AM
 
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My son has had this problem since he was 4. Now he's 9 and still suffers the occasional bout, but is so, so much recovered. In children this age it is often less about food and more about what is going on in their heads. My ds's did not get better until he was on Lactulose, his movements got softer and easier and some of the trauma of his condition had passed. At this stage too much fiber can actually be counterproductive.

Once he is over the trauma somewhat it is about maintenance, vigilance with water and reminders about sitting and doing the business, because even now he will withhold now and then.

What might motivate your son to try to sit and poop every day (or twice a day) ? We offered mine various rewards - it's against my philosophy but it worked for him. Overcoming his psychological aversion to pooping was the key for us.

When he is on the toilet encourage proper posture and offer a footstool to support his legs in more of a squatting position.

It is a long, hard road, as the pp's have said, but you guys will have success in the end. I feel for you. Hang in there!

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#8 of 23 Old 11-06-2010, 02:26 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Llyra View Post
My DD1 is six, and experienced terrible constipation as a four and five year old. She wouldn't go at all for days and days, and then have BMs that were seriously bigger than my cat- toilet pluggers just like you describe. The ped pushed fiber, and DD got a LOT of it, but it just made the poops bigger, and they were even harder to pass.

What I did for her:
1. more dietary fat-- seriously, more fats. Have you tried coconut milk? I load DD up with fresh Jersey cream, and butter, and olive oil, and avocado, and peanut butter, and really rich cheeses, and walnuts, and fatty fish.

2. Probiotics-- not just probiotic supplements, either-- lots of foods with live cultures. She eats home-cultured yogurt, and recently we've learned to culture buttermilk as well. She eats fermented sauerkraut and pickles too.

3. Eliminating white flour foods and sugar entirely.

4. A routine of sitting on the toilet after each meal, for a specified period of time, to develop a routine.

Good luck-- it was a long battle, for us, of eliminating foods and tweaking her diet and working on the emotional parts of the problem, but she's doing well now.

not all who wander are lost
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#9 of 23 Old 11-07-2010, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i too would pull out dairy, increase the natural calm and water, and really stick to a poop schedule. my ds for a long time had constipation issues, even after i was dairy-free. so we instituted a pee/poop - pyjamas - brush teeth routine at bed. i think he's only ever pooped outside of that routine ... what, 5 times? and only 2-3 x at daycare.

is he itching his bottom? is he grinding his teeth at night? are you open to homeopathy?
No itching and no grinding. Open to homeopathy. I've tried nux vomica....but nothing.
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#10 of 23 Old 11-07-2010, 06:23 PM
 
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Yes - how much did you give?

Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. ~Jonathan Kozel
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#11 of 23 Old 11-07-2010, 10:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yes - how much did you give?
I was giving 10 granules every 15 minutes for 4 hours and no luck.
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#12 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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I've never seen natural calm granules - how much mag citrate do they contain?


Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win. ~Jonathan Kozel
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#13 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Sorry, i thought you were asking how much nux vomica.  I gave him 2 tsp of natural calm.

 

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I've never seen natural calm granules - how much mag citrate do they contain?



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#14 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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I'd do more natural calm.  not all at once, but in divided doses.  I'd probably try 2 tsp twice a day to see if there was movement.  I'd also certainly be doing a castor oil pack on his belly a few times a week.

 

What does his tongue look like?  Is there a coating? Any cracks?  Can you see imprints of his teeth on the sides?  does it look furry or smooth?

 

In addition to the naturalcalm I'd also (were it my kiddo) be doing epsom salt soaks (this will help in a different way than the naturalcalm so yes, they're both magnesium but I'd do them both.)  I'd also do cell salts to support elimination.  For constipation I'd rather be super specific, but again without a practitioner you can do a constipation combo for the salts to help with elimination and physiological clean up.

 

If nux vomica isn't working it's not the right remedy.  In all honesty if you aren't working with someone I'd do a low potency combo specifically for constipation just to get some movement.  then you don't have to have the absolute right remedy but you can still get the benefits of homeopathy.

 

Lastly I can't stress enough how diet impacts gut function.  Are you aware of sensitivities?  Have you done any food trials?  Best of luck!

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You'd think that would make him reazlize the problem...but he doesn't. We are back to the same problem. 


I also want to just mention that as frustrating as it is, I don't think this is a conscious effort on his part.  This is not likely a lapse of judgment on his part, or something that he wants to be doing.  It could be mechanical, it could be structural, it could be a result of an inflammatory condition, a bacterial imbalance....the possibilities are endless.  Even if it started out as psychological it gets to a point where it's not anymore.  I know you just want him to be healthy but I just wanted to throw it out there that it's most likely not in his control at this stage.  hugs, mama.

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#16 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 06:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Ok, so more natural calm, can do! 


His tongue looks good.  Pink and not furry.  What would the imprints of the teeth and furriness mean?  That's totally my tongue.  We also do epsom salt baths.  Kids love their "salt baths".  hehe.  Diet we need to improve greatly though......  greensad.gif

 

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I'd do more natural calm.  not all at once, but in divided doses.  I'd probably try 2 tsp twice a day to see if there was movement.  I'd also certainly be doing a castor oil pack on his belly a few times a week.

 

What does his tongue look like?  Is there a coating? Any cracks?  Can you see imprints of his teeth on the sides?  does it look furry or smooth?

 

In addition to the naturalcalm I'd also (were it my kiddo) be doing epsom salt soaks (this will help in a different way than the naturalcalm so yes, they're both magnesium but I'd do them both.)  I'd also do cell salts to support elimination.  For constipation I'd rather be super specific, but again without a practitioner you can do a constipation combo for the salts to help with elimination and physiological clean up.

 

If nux vomica isn't working it's not the right remedy.  In all honesty if you aren't working with someone I'd do a low potency combo specifically for constipation just to get some movement.  then you don't have to have the absolute right remedy but you can still get the benefits of homeopathy.

 

Lastly I can't stress enough how diet impacts gut function.  Are you aware of sensitivities?  Have you done any food trials?  Best of luck!



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have you tried any bodywork, like craniosacral therapy?  osteopathy?  chiro?  a mal-aligned pelvis or dysfunction in the lumbar region (e.g., pulled muscles along the spine) could definitely result in chronic constipation as well.


Jennifer, Naturopath and mom

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#18 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We don't have anyone here who does bodywork or craniosacral therapy.  We have brought him to the chiropractor, but he hated it.  Tensed up a lot and it didn't help.
 

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have you tried any bodywork, like craniosacral therapy?  osteopathy?  chiro?  a mal-aligned pelvis or dysfunction in the lumbar region (e.g., pulled muscles along the spine) could definitely result in chronic constipation as well.



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#19 of 23 Old 11-10-2010, 07:55 PM
 
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Well, this isn't a natural remedy, but my son takes Miralax every day.  Not a full dose (he's only four), but he started on it when he was about 14 months, and if we skip a day or two, we definitely know it.  We mix it into his oatmeal/hot cereal, yogurt, applesauce, or anything that's liquid.  It's an OTC medicine (used to be prescription), but it has been the only thing that works well for us.

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Ok, so more natural calm, can do! 


His tongue looks good.  Pink and not furry.  What would the imprints of the teeth and furriness mean?  That's totally my tongue.  We also do epsom salt baths.  Kids love their "salt baths".  hehe.  Diet we need to improve greatly though......  greensad.gif

 


 


Depends on the color for the "furriness" as well.  You can actually tell a lot about organ function from the tongue.  Chinese medicine/ayurveda/biochemic medicine uses it quite a bit.  It would tell me if there was excess mucus in the body, how well you were absorbing nutrients, how well you detoxify, where things tend to fall apart, fluid balance, digestive function etc.  Without knowing the colors we're talking the imprints of the teeth in your tongue to me means that you're not accessing nutrients the way you need to be (doesn't tell us why-just that it's an issue.)

 

Glad you're doing the epsom salt soaks-keep it up!  And with regards to diet...we're all on a journey.  Every day the best we can do is to do better than the day before.  Hugs, mama.  It's good to know it needs work, but baby steps.  If it's so overwhelming that you aren't able to do anything, no one benefits.  Baby steps.  Pick one thing to change.  Then once that feels doable, pick another.  Keep going with one foot in front of the other. 

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#21 of 23 Old 11-13-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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Depends on the color for the "furriness" as well.  You can actually tell a lot about organ function from the tongue.  Chinese medicine/ayurveda/biochemic medicine uses it quite a bit.  It would tell me if there was excess mucus in the body, how well you were absorbing nutrients, how well you detoxify, where things tend to fall apart, fluid balance, digestive function etc.  Without knowing the colors we're talking the imprints of the teeth in your tongue to me means that you're not accessing nutrients the way you need to be (doesn't tell us why-just that it's an issue.)

 

 

I have a "furry" tongue - I was told by the dentist that it was called geographic tongue - that some people have it, but it doesn't really go away or can't be cured or something.  Is that the same thing that you're talking about?  Can you tell us why teeth imprints on the tongue mean all that?  I thought it was just because I have a big tongue that pushes against my teeth when I sleep...?
 

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#22 of 23 Old 11-14-2010, 07:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That's what the dentist told me about the tooth imprints too.  That my jaw is too small or my tongue is too big.  ;)
 

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Originally Posted by Panserbjorne


Depends on the color for the "furriness" as well.  You can actually tell a lot about organ function from the tongue.  Chinese medicine/ayurveda/biochemic medicine uses it quite a bit.  It would tell me if there was excess mucus in the body, how well you were absorbing nutrients, how well you detoxify, where things tend to fall apart, fluid balance, digestive function etc.  Without knowing the colors we're talking the imprints of the teeth in your tongue to me means that you're not accessing nutrients the way you need to be (doesn't tell us why-just that it's an issue.)

 

 

I have a "furry" tongue - I was told by the dentist that it was called geographic tongue - that some people have it, but it doesn't really go away or can't be cured or something.  Is that the same thing that you're talking about?  Can you tell us why teeth imprints on the tongue mean all that?  I thought it was just because I have a big tongue that pushes against my teeth when I sleep...?
 



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#23 of 23 Old 11-14-2010, 09:25 AM
 
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that's one way in which mainstream medicine is different from alternative medicine. 

 

If you have someone who can read your tongue you'd be suprised at how much they knew about you without ever talking to you (healthwise I mean...not fortune telling!)  It's well accepted in many traditional medical systems that reading the tongue (and sometimes fingernails and eyes) is a clinically significant and helpful approach.  Modern medicine has verified this to a certain extent.

 

I'm also not saying it can be "cured" but if you can understand how to support the body to get things functioning optimally then it certainly can diminish.  I've seen lots of things change on tongues with appropriate support.

 

And, as a testament to this too, you can often see how it changes when you get sick vs when you are healthy.  If you pay attention it can change in a variety of ways, as can your eyes if you know what to look for.  

 

This isn't the best site, but it gives some info as you go:

http://beyondwellbeing.com/herbs/tongue-diagnosis.shtml

http://www.life123.com/health/alternative-medicine/traditional-chinese-medicine/chinese-tongue-analysis.shtml

http://www.massagemag.com/News/massage-news.php?id=6439&catid=53&title=whats-your-tongue-telling-you

 

 

it's not a way to diagnose anything.  it just gives you information and may point you in a certain direction, or verify certain things.  The thing about it is that with minor changes (you're not diagnosing cancer this way or anything, just deficiencies or imbalances that can be remedied with some attention) you can see changes fairly quickly. 

 

 

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