Mothering Forum banner

I think my 4 yr old has encopresis

1655 Views 25 Replies 15 Participants Last post by  Soxfan Mom
What should I do for her? I've done some reading so we will be setting regular toilet times and adding in more bran.

A laxative is also recommended but I'm not sure what the best one would be for her little body.

I feel extremely guilty. We had been trying everything to get her to eat enough veggies but in the last month I really relaxed about it because everyone was telling me that she would be happier if I didn't pressure her to eat veggies at each meal. Around that same time she started having a banana a day. So she would eat mostly bread, banana, and dairy for most of her diet. I feel like I've created this problem since those foods cause constipation.

Please help me help my sweet girl.
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
I would try to offer her lots of fruits that she likes. Grapes are often a good choice. Avoid apples, bananas, and dairy. Some people find that they have to give an enema to clear out the blockage before diet changes will work.

I hope things get better for your little girl soon.
I am sorry you are going through this!
My daughter also had this problem, starting at about the same age. She is seven now, and will lapse back into it if her diet doesn't have enough fiber, but for the most part is doing great. What helped us was an initial "cleaning out" with a milk of magnesia and mineral oil cocktail in chocolate milk. Maybe not the most NFL thing in the world, but I had to do what I had to do. Then the main thing is to keep the diet really great after this so the colon can shrink and recover.
What worked for us: Children need their age plus 5 grams of fiber daily. So your daughter would need 9 grams per day. I think some people just have a predisposition to becoming constipated, and those people (like my DD) just need to be aware of it and eat plent of fiber. I make sure to kind of think about that. If we run out of fresh fruit, she wants eggs for breakfast,or we go out to eat more often, I make sure we are eating fiber rich muffins and whole grains to make up for it.
Water is equally important. She has her own water bottle in the fridge which I fill daily. She knows for her health she needs to drink the whole thing throughout the day. A fun bottle with a straw makes it fun.
Know the trigger foods. If bananas are not working, stop buying them for a while. Apples are great for my DD. I know if she eats 1 or 2 a day, combined with the fruits and veggies and whole grains we eat, she will be fine. If we run out of apples, I really have to pump up the fiber in another way. Pears and peaches are great too.
I know for my DD, one day between BM's is a problem that can escalate quickly. She has "sit time" with a book after breakfast each morning. It is part of our routine.
Good luck, I hope some of this helped. Let me know if you have any questions.
See less See more
cross post on the apple thing. Cooked apples are constipating. Peeled apples can be constipating. Whole raw apples with the skin are NOT constipating, if you are drinking your water.
hmm, i just tried to copy my post in your other thread but it wouldn't let me paste.

epson salts baths
regular time on the pot--after the epsom salts bath is good
water, water, water
psyliuum (sp?) husks are a good product to get things moving
See less See more
I made her a smoothie this morning and she was not happy with it.

Whole apple with peel (no seeds or core though)
pear juice
vanilla yogurt
some Omega 3 oil
some bran

She really is not liking it but I gave her the choice of the smoothie or an enema.
She's also been eating raisin bran this morning.
I'm planning on making bran muffins tonight and her favorite veggie brocolli with cheese.
We've been dealing with encopresis with my dd for awhile. She has been on miralax for a year. I've tried weaning her from it, but as soon as she's off it for a day or two she starts holding again. Right before she went on the miralax she had an x-ray done and she was full of stool. I had no idea she was that constipated, but she was.

You may still need to do an enema or suppository to make sure to get out any hard blockages. It's important to get her cleaned out well, so things can begin to move once you start increasing fiber. Good luck.
See less See more
I would suggest:
  • Natural Calm magnesium
  • Digestive enzymes
  • Homemade yogurt (stronger than store bought)
  • Raw milk
A predisposition to constipation means your intestinal flora is out of balance.

More here on encopresis:
This is something we dealt with for 3yrs. It was truly awful. It really became a vicious cycle that we could not get out of. We did everything from suppositories to homeopathy. We both did elimination diets for 2yrs - to no avail. Three things I remember working were:
1. Liquid Calcium Magnesium.
2. Smoothies with tons of berries. (Trader Joe's has very inexpensive frozen berries)
3. The turn around came when my son began going on the toilet (I am assuming your child is already doing this but my son would not poop on the toilet (or potty) until he was 4 - 4.5yrs old. Of course we could not have cared less where he pooped we just wanted him to poop! Once he relaxed and was in the correct position (sitting on the toilet) it didn't seem to hurt anymore and he went more and more frequently. It became effortless. He got over the emotional part,etc.

We have truly come out the other side. He is 5yrs old and he poops every day now. Good luck mama.
Vitamin C every day just below bowel tolerance works wonders

Sodium ascorabte is the best form of C.

We mix into juice if the child cant swallow capsules I stuff.
See less See more
My DSD has similar bowel issues.
she doesn't like to drink fluids especially just water,
she loves cheese,
she doesn't like to 'take the time to poop',
she eats too much refined food at her moms,
when she has to go she puts it off too long...

She's been taking stool softeners on and off for years. Ends up getting enemas from the doctor regularly... Its so sad and it is a cycle. She's now 12 and FINALLY doing better with how to prevent her constipation.
i hope you find some fiberous foods that she will eat! maybe she can go to the store with you and pick it out. my son loves cheese, bananas, white flour, meats and such so i have to be careful. if he skips a day, then these things are off limits until he goes. he likes it when i read him a book while he sits and tries.

we try to keep around easy things that i know he will eat that have fiber: strawberries, grapes, raisins, apple juice (i know some ppl dont like juice), sometimes i can sneak prunes in his oatmeal. whole wheat panckaes help and so do bran muffins. the health food store sells whole grain mixes if you can't go from scratch! if the smoothie you made is too strong maybe tone it down. how about a berry smoothie with ground up flax seed or flax seed oil. or a peanut butter banana smoothie with spirulina. even with the banana, spirulina is a powerful antioxidant and the peanut butter covers up the taste.

i think the gentlest laxative that would be effective is best. i can't get my son to drink prune juice so smoothies and apple juices are the only things we have tried. the over the counter things mentioned have got to be better than Rx. the hard thing about the laxative from people i talked to is that is causes cramping, diarrhea, and they can't always make it to the bathroom in time. but if that is what it takes to get the colon shrunk back down, i guess it is worth it.

edited to add: i let him have all the fruit he wants. if all he wants to eat is grapes, then i just let him and it really helps. i wish he would eat more veggies. he does eat some, but not 3 servings a day. my point is don't be afraid to let them have LOTS of fruit if that is what it takes to get things moving.
See less See more
she wants lots of bananas right now.

She did take some of the smoothie, maybe half which is something. She had some poo this morning but I have no idea if its the blocked stuff or not.

I did get her some prune juice and some laxative tea that the guy at the health food store suggested I make extremely weak for her.

I guess its just wait and see. dd suffers as well. We bake a lot of bran muffins with raisins, and substitute pureed prunes for oil. She also eats broccoli each day (she's not thrilled with it). Eliminating cheese has really helped, too.
i don't buy bananas anymore so they are not around

Originally Posted by JaneS

More here on encopresis:
that link has an excellent point. my 8 year old has SID and i believe this is what causes the encropresis in him.

It is common enough that the person may not be able to feel when they needed to go to the bathroom. They genuinely cannot feel the sensations. This may be due to the person having sensory integration dysfunction. When the person initially does not have the sensory feedback of when he needs to go, the constipation builds up, and then the problem perpetuates. Another route is that you may become constipated first, and as the colon stretches out, the nerves are no longer close to and in rhythm with the amount of waste. Even if the mass is eliminated, the colon is so stretched out that it will not sense the build up of more waste until another massive amount accumulates. The problem again perpetuates itself. Scheduling times to 'try' is very important, because it does not rely on the person feeling the need to go.
See less See more
I just wanted to add that we discovered fruit leathers (dried fruit snacks) and they add alot of fiber. I get them at my local supermarket but I imagine Trader Joe's and Whole Foods sells them. They make organic ones as well. My ds will not eat dried fruits like apricots or raisins or prunes but he will devour fruit leathers.
See less See more
So how do I know when she's passed the blockage? The last two days she has pooped and its semmed normal but how do I know for sure?
Mama o two,

I just found this thread because I did a search on encopresis- my two and a half year old daughter is showing symptoms of it, I had no idea it had a name until yesterday.

It sounds like you're doing good if she pooped the last two days!

It sure takes a LOT of time and energy, doesn't it?

Good luck.
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.