23 answers

Bloated Stomach

My 2 year old looks like she has a bloated stomach most of the time. I mean it looks like she is pregnant. We asked the pediatrician and he had a CT Scan and X-ray done on her abdomen area but nothing showed up. He thinks maybe she is constipated some because she's had a few hard poops that have caused a little bleeding because it ripped. However, she is getting a little more regular on her poops and he wants us to give her Miralax each day. But when she has Miralax it seems like all she does it eat and poop...which isn't good either.

Does anyone else have a child with a bloated stomach? Anything suggestions on what to do? Should we get a second opinion? Thanks!

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My son is 4 and just had the same thing. He was so constipated that it sent him to the ER and they had to admit him. They wanted to take 2 caps full Miralax a day. He was going a lot so I asked the dr and they cut the dose. He is still on Miralax, but I tell you I would rather him go a couple of times a day with ease than seeing him go through that again in the hospital!!! It will get better!!

Hi M.,
You might want to watch what she is eating. She could be allergic to say wheat products or gluten. You also may want to get a second opinion from another doctor. The Miralax just treats the symptoms but does not help to find the cause of her bloating. Good luck!

More Answers

I have been where you are. The best part about Mirilax is that it is a powder. You do not have to use the full dose if you feel that it is too much. I put a 1/2 a teaspoon in my son's juice each morning and another 1/2tsp to 1 tsp later in the day in a pudding or yogurt if he has yet to have a bowel movement yet. So long as he is going on a regular basis and is not constipated the full dose is not necessary. (My sister-in-law is a pediatrician and she said this was fine and safe)

I would get second opinion---have her checked for Sprue- or gluten intollerance. We had 2 children with bloating, but they had very many painful, diarrlea stools a day--20 to 30, so that doesn't quite fit, but have her checked to make sure she is absorbing her milk and other foods. PR

Here are a few ideas you may want to consider:
1) Probiotics
2) Digestive enzymes
3) Increase fiber naturally with fruit, veggies & whole grains
Adding Benefiber would be a somewhat more natural help than
Miralax which to my understanding is basically a laxative
4) 1/2 her body weight in ounces of water/day (30lbs=15 oz)
5) 1 tsp of olive oil or flax oil/day will promote regularity
Also flax is a good source of omega 3's
6) Find a good chiropractor who is knowledgable about
Standard Process whole food supplements.
7) A warm glass of water first thing in the morning has been
known produce a BM
8) You could alway give her an enema to clean out the colon
and get it on it's way to recovery.
If she starts having regular bowel movements and still looks bloated I would definitely get another opinion or if you don't feel comfortable with the first diagnosis I would get a second opinion or a third... One of the most important things I've learned in the last five years of motherhood is to ALWAYS TRUST YOUR GUT!!
God Bless

This is a prime age for children to begin showing symptoms of food sensitivities. It sounds like your little girl's body may not like something she is eating. If you have access to a Naturopathic Doctor, then you may want to consult one (an ND has saved our two year old son's life - he was highly sensitive to several proteins, including cow's milk and soy). If you can't consult an ND, you may want to check the internet for typical food sensitivities and try eliminating one at a time (i.e. no milk/dairy for one week) and see if it helps. Also, it is worth asking your doctor for IGg testing (he may). Wishing all the best for you and your baby's belly. J.

My child looks similar and I've heard many moms refer to this as toddler tummy. Many of them have big tummies that look bloated. I'm not saying there isn't anything wrong, but maybe it's just normal. You've obviously talked to your doctor about it. Is your doctor concerned or is he/she running the tests basically for you? Also, what build is your daughter? My son didn't look like this so much when he was little, but my daughter does. She is terribly skinny too. My son, not so skinny.
Hope this helps.

my 2 1/2 year old daughter is bloating all the time
i went to the hospital cause she was in pain all the time screaming up in the night
they told me she was constipated and gave her some enema and laxative
couple of months later shes going on her own now
but her stomach is so bloated looks like shes pregnant and says all the time my tummy hurt
doc says give her stool softener and watch her food but nothing helps

My son is 4 and just had the same thing. He was so constipated that it sent him to the ER and they had to admit him. They wanted to take 2 caps full Miralax a day. He was going a lot so I asked the dr and they cut the dose. He is still on Miralax, but I tell you I would rather him go a couple of times a day with ease than seeing him go through that again in the hospital!!! It will get better!!

We had severe constipation issues with both of our girls. Our older one had it from the very beginning and finally outgrew it once we got her potty trained. However, our youngest (3 now) suddenly became constantly constipated last January. This went on and on. Our dr. took x-rays - he showed me where you could see how backed up she is. So, my 1st piece of advice is to get a 2nd opinion - the dr. should be able to see the stool inside her via xray. It is truly amazing how backed up they can get even if they are going everyday! We put her on Miralax just so she would go. But after fighting with this for 10 months and my mom instinct just knowing that something else was wrong - after being to a pediatric GI too! We discovered she had an inguinal hernia - where the muscle tears and the intestine sticks out. This caused the area where she had it to be "swollen". Which ironically the pediatric surgeon said it couldn't be causing the constipation - well, she had her surgery on Dec. 4th and we haven't had any problems since! I'm sure that's not the case in yours, but there are all kinds of things that can make them constipated. Gluten allergy is one - aka. celiac disease. If either of the parents have this disorder, it's very likely the child will have it too.
I feel your pain - dealing with constipation and just not knowing the cause of the bloated tummy wears on you everyday. To help rest your mind, I would get a 2nd opinion and go from there. Good Luck!

Hi M.,
You might want to watch what she is eating. She could be allergic to say wheat products or gluten. You also may want to get a second opinion from another doctor. The Miralax just treats the symptoms but does not help to find the cause of her bloating. Good luck!

I'm the mother of 4 grown sons and 4 grandchildren. I do know that both soy and wheat can cause bloating/gas in children and adults. You might check to see if either one of these are in the food or drink you are givng her. Just a thought and worth looking into.

Hi, I know exactly the complaint you are talking about, and the ped is probably right about the constipation. If you and your daughter are comfortable with it, I would HIGHLY recommend massage. There is a great book on it by Vimala McClure called "Infant Massage." It would still work for your two-year-old. It worked wonders with both of my girls, and best of all, it's med-free!! Besides improved bowel function, there were the added bonuses of improved appetite (to more healthful foods), enhanced comfort to the child, and increased mother-child (or father-child) bonding. Good luck!!

Yes, a second oppinion is needed! We have the same issues with on of our boys...
My son is now 8 1/2, however he has had a bloated stomach since he was about 1 1/2-2 years old. Our pediatrician sent us to a G.I doctor, since then he has had X-rays and Barium tests (not sure how to spell that one), tested for celiac and had a biopsy. The only thing they found was bacteria overgrowth and he was treated with a few meds I gave him for 10 days. Unfortunatley, he still has a bloated stomach and an intchy bottom. He has a very low energy level.

If you have found any answers since your initial message, please post.
BTW...the first thing the G.I did was also put our son on Miralax daily.

My neice had the same problem from just a few months until almost three. My sister only needed to give her the medication if she didn't go about one every three days. And you could tell because her stomach would get round like you said. Mainly, she watched her diet and made sure she had plenty of fiber. This is also what we had to do for my daughter when she was little, she also caused bleeding and would cry. Bananas, prunes and prune juice, whole grains, ect. Now, Fiber One has bars that kids would love and cereal. Fiber, fiber, fiber...

The only bloated stomachs I've dealt with were newborns (gas). Have you tried "infant massage" even though she's two? Start on the lower right side of her abdomen, gently but firmly press and rub up to the top of her tummy then over to the left side and down ... helping whatever's in there (gas, etc) to move along it's natural intestinal path. This helped two colicky babies and one gassy baby I knew. Obviously, if it hurts, stop. But if it doesn't hurt it will at the very least be comforting to your two year-old to be massaged by mommy.

Have you looked into allergies or celiac disease? Sometimes the bloated stomach is related to that?? I would get another medical opinion from a GI doctor.

One thing to do for constipation is going to the Choripractor*sp* and have them do a massage on them. it does not hurt at all. it works very well. they even do it on babies. and they can show you how to do it too. it is easy. I have one if you live in the St Charles area.

It's hard to say without seeing her stomach but she sounds a little like my daughter who has a tummy. My daughter is very petite from head to toe but she stands like me with a curved in back and since she doesn't "suck in" like I do, and since she doesn't poop as often as adults probably, she looks a little bloated sometimes (but not bad and not all of the time). I think pooping regularly (and not unnaturally where she has to compulsively eat too) is the key. A very good snack for that is applesauce--it encourages and softens the poop. Often times kids will try not to poop after they had some painful hard ones, which of course makes more hard ones. Is she potty trained? My daughter went through this same thing around that age after getting potty trained, but she eventually got the swing of the daily pooping. If it's something besides this, and you really have a strong feeling (and if it looks very concerning), I would definatelys seek a second or third opinion. Also, webmd could give you advice.

Historically, a bloated stomach on a child is either a sign of protein deficiency(severe) or parasites. It could be gas as the other mother mentioned but that would tend to come and go. If you look at a puppy or kitten and their belly is full and rounded, then they have parasites. Most people and especially pediatricians don't even consider parasites but they are present in all of us. Some are microscopic and some are large. You can easily get them from our animals and also from raw vegetables. I do periodic parasite treatments as do most people in the rest of the world. ASk him to treat her for parasites. They can also cause consitpation. It is also very abnormal to be constipated, even though many children are. Increase water and fiber and eliminate anything from a package, especially if it has flour or sugar in it. (cereal, bread products, pastries,...) It acts like sludge in the gut and slows down motility. good luck

My son didn't have that issue, but both of my friend's kids had it. They actually had Celiac Disease, which is an allergy to gluten (I think). They've both since grown out of it (they're 4 and 6 now), but you might mention it to your doctor.

Please consider baby massage. Our Parents as Teachers group held a hands on workshop in which learned a techniques called "love strokes." These were a combination of moves on the abdomen - an inverted U, an upside down L and then a straight line down from the chest to the belly. Please consult a web site (www.babycenter.com) or a massage therapist for advice. Good food movers are applesauce, sweet potates, prunes and the traditional karo syrup.

M. -

This sounds crazy but a good friend of mine can help daughter. He owns Transformations Wellness Spa his name is Mark Boyle. I go to the spa for the same thing. But he helps alot of children too. Tell him
L. R. referred you. His number is ###-###-####. Let me know how things turn out. Please feel free to contact me privately if you want to discuss.

I am not sure how big a tummy you are talking about. I do know that all four of my children had round stomachs and it just went away as they got older. I guess it was just baby fat. My youngest did have a constipation problem and was put on Miralax. She had become afraid to poop since it did rip her bottom. She was only on Miralax for a week, once she had gone a couple times without it hurting she didn't try to hold it in and then never became constipated again. Fixing the constipation issue didn't change her round belly though. She is now six and has a flat belly like everyone else.

The Miralax your daughter is on is helping "clear her out". You'd be surprised how much can be back-up even though they seem to be pooping regularly.

My son went through the same thing during the potty training years (2-3). With consultation from his doctor, we tried changing his diet-more fiberous foods-to help. But, he was so afraid to poop in the potty. We were eventually refered to a specialist because not only did he have blood from tears, but blood in his stool. Come to find out, he was so constipated that polyps formed inside and when he'd try to go it irritated the polyps and they bled. My son was put on a laxative. We were told at the time that some kids (like the specialist's daughter) never come off the laxative - it's something they deal with all their lives. Not so in our case, but he was on the laxative every day for a year. At first, it seemed all my son was doing was pooping. But once the laxative cleared him out, it helped him stay regular. When the potty training issues were over, we started lowering the dosage until he was eventually off of the laxative and regulating himself.

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