20 answers


My 9 year old daughter has had a long time problem with constipation. We have her on a special diet for it and everything. And over the last few years it has been better. But the last month has been bad.She is soiling because she is so constipated. We have taken her to the Doctors and they put her on laxitives which only made things worse.After three days of laxitives and nothing we did an enema and still nothing. Which we have done in the past and it usual works. But it is very upsetting for her. She cries and begges me not to. It breaks my heart to put her through it but this is no other way. So what i was wondering is there a way to make it not so horrible for her? I have tried talking to her in calm loving tones. I don't rush her and i never get forceful. But it takes hours sometimes to get her to do it. And by then she is so upset she is physically tired and shaking.I don't know what to do. And with my last enema not working i have to give her another one tonight. So if anyone has any ideas looking for all the input i can get. She is on a fiber rich diet no dairy . She does have a blockage and thats why we are doing the enemas to get it out. It has been there for almost a month now. Which is why she is soiling. She has been in counciling for 6 months now. Because we are aware that stress causes some of the problem. And what i mean by the laxitives makes it worse is it is making her more constipated. I have tried all the fiber drinks and nothing helps. I have tried mineral oil and that doesn't help either. So at the moment i am just tring to get the poop out of her. And I have scheduled a lower GI with a specialist.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone on all the information. Things are finally moving through. Thanks to strawberries :) .....Still exploring all avenues though to insure this doesn't happen again. Thanks again :)

Featured Answers

ask her Dr. for Miralax.
It just mixes and total dissolves in any drink in a few minutes. Works differently then the store laxatives. Solves the problem with regular use...
she should also drink lots of other stuff..

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Hi K.,

You poor things. The suffering you and your child are going thru. I had surgery and it was almost 1 1/2 weeks before I moved my bowels again. That was with stool softener, laxative and double suppositories. The worst day was Thanksgiving. I can empathize on how she feels. It hurt to go, it hurt not to go. The first time I moved my bowels it was after atleast 1 hour in the bathroom and I had to shower afterwards because I was drenched in sweat. I had more pain w/constipation than I did with my full abdominal hystorectomy.

My first question is very similar top your first request response. Has she been to a gastroenterologist? This is a doctor that specializes with digestive disorders.
This is something I would demand from her pediatrician. You do not go into the office and get no other advice axcept enama's and she should out grow it. If she needed heart surgery, would you only take her to her pediatrician vs a heart doctor. I know that sounds extreme but Doctors do not want to admit they may not know why something is happening. If your pedi says I don't think we need a refferral. My suggestion would be thank your pediatrician for his/her advice/opinion and DEMAND the referral or you will switch doctors. You let them know that you are not asking for the refferall.

Other people may recommend counseling. I cannot rule that recommendation out. Only because this becomes a vicious cycle. Can not poop, hurts when I do poop. Which one hurts less. So they may actually learn to with hold the bowel movement to decrease the pain. However, then it becomes a psychological problem, even if this is not what caused it. Also the muscles that help move the poop thru the intestions get weak. Thus causing more problems going.

A high fiber diet is important but..... too much fiber can also cause constipation. Limit banana's, cheese, too much milk, rice, applejuice &/or applesauce. Things that are included in the BRAT Diet for diarreah. LOTS AND LOTS OF WATER!

Maybe even consider an allergist. I would try the gastro first and then if no answers I would try the allergist.

I bet the poor thing feels constantly like throwing up. When food gets digested and what ever is left over is waste product(poop). If the waste is not coming out , then it has to go somewhere. There for causing nausea.

I think that covers all my suggestions. Drink lots of water, exercise 30 minutes daily and make another doctors appointment!
If you ever notice yellowing of the eyes, she needs to be immediately seen by a doctor. This would be a sign of jaundice, which can become life threatening if ignored.

Good Luck!

H. B.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have any experience with enemas, but it sounds like she is miserable. Maybe you should try a different doctor. A specialist or something...

1 mom found this helpful

Hi There,
I know what your going through, My daughter had problems like that a few years ago. She was 7 and now she's 11. It broke my heart to have to give her an emena. I only did it twice and I would not make her go through it again. I think putting her through that made it even harder for her to relax and go.It was tramatizing for me and for her. When they begin to shake with fear its time to try another way to gelp them. She started to resent me for it. We started her on a fiber drink. I think it was metamucil every AM and again at night before bed until she started going. Then I kept her on it for quite some time. Eventually she started going regulary. I think even fiber drinks that are clear might work. She didn't mind the orange flavor either. Before we started the stool softener drink a doctor recommended adding a couple tablespoons of caster oil to applesauce. She had a hard time eating that but you might try it. I myself would stop the enemas. There just to hard on a child.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

your daughter should see a gastroenterologist. Has she been tested for a blockage?

Instead of enemas - try getting her to drink epsom salts (2 tbs) in 8oz of 7up. Pineapple juice can also help but I imagine you've already tried that.. The GI doc or maybe even your pediatrician can give you a drink called "golytely" or "colyte" that is used to move the bowels typically before a colonoscopy or other procedure.

Definitely consult with a specialist - if you're in the seattle area, I know a number of them - feel free to email me for referrals.

Hope she gets better! That is a toughie - I feel awful for her...

1 mom found this helpful

HI K.,
I also have a problem with my stool, which causes a bowl movement at least once but sometime twice a month. I can completely relate to your daughter as a child that went through the same thing and my heart goes out to her. I

I’m sure the gastroenterologist will help you with finding the best solution for her. I know there are many things that can be causing this. I have long colon and a water absorption problem so this is what worked for me. I took mineral oil, which you mentioned but it doesn’t always work right away. She may have to take it for a few days before it really works. You may want to adjust to dosage too. The other thing to try is perdium (I’m not sure about the spelling or the name) its in the same area in the grocery store as the mineral oil, its in a small green bottle. I think there are now a few favors. It taste horrible and will probably take her a while to drink it but it will work with in about 24hrs. I always used it as a last resort.

I would try and stay away from laxative and enemas because that can cause her body to become dependant on those for a bowl movement. You could try a glycerin suppository, which should help her and her body won’t become dependant on it. The other thing which I truly didn’t understand as a child but looking back as an adult I wish I would have done more which is to make sure she is drinking enough water.

Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help.



1 mom found this helpful

Dear K.,

Have you tried prunes? We called it candy fruit and ate them with our 2 year old and drank water with clinking ice cubes, just to make it seem special. Sit there and have a tea party with napkins, and stuff to make it special.

The prunes work, and especially extra water, drink it with her all through the day. No more enemas, o.k.?

Good luck, be patient, yes, I know you already have done that, sorry. Try it. C. N.

1 mom found this helpful

ask her Dr. for Miralax.
It just mixes and total dissolves in any drink in a few minutes. Works differently then the store laxatives. Solves the problem with regular use...
she should also drink lots of other stuff..

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

I feel for you and your daughter. I would suggest you check with a pediatric specialist for G.I. problems. My daughter had similar problems all her life. I can tell you that not combining any of the B.R.A.T.Y. foods together is a start, lay off the carbohydrates and add more water to her diet. She sould be getting at least 1/2 oz for ever pound she weighs, so for a 60 pound girl she would get at least, a bare minimum for 30oz of water daily.

B.R.A.T.Y. stands for Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, & Yougurt. Those foods in combination will stop dirreah so they are not foods you want to serve to her in the same meal.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

K., I feel for your daughter. Just like her, I have had constipation problems and have given myself enemas. I have to say that it is a very uncomfortable, almost painful process so she needs all the understanding and patience you can muster up. Also, I would suggest staying away from the store bought fleet enemas, or others of the same sort, they tend to be more difficult and uncomfortable. My best suggestion is to get an enema bag, you can purchase at any drugstore, and fill it with warm water that will be comparable to her inside body temp, but not too warm. The inserts on these bags tend to be smaller and more comfortable than the ready-made enemas. You will need to elevate the bag about 2 feet off the ground so the water goes in at a good pace. Have your daughter sit on her hands and knees and relax if she can, that makes it much easier. Good luck to you. I just can't imagine giving and enema and having nothing at all come out. Maybe the warm water enema will make the difference. You must remember to use extreme caution when giving enemas as they can become something the body depends on in order to evacuate. If I were you, I would check with her doctors about the frequency at which you are administering them to her. A side note as well; you may want to consider a daily dose of mineral oil for her. Mineral oil is a natural laxitive that not only helps with the movement of fecies, it will help them to be softer coming out and less painful. I have been giving my 2 1/2 year old daughter mineral oil daily since she potty trained; it really helps her from having hard, painful bowel movements. I wish you the best and God bless.

1 mom found this helpful

Try adding lots of fiber to her diet. I have problems and usually the more fiber I have/take (citrucel), the better my problems! Good luck (lots of other good advice on here, too). With the citrucel, you can give her a decent tasting drink while potentially helping her (I mix the orange with half milk and half water and it's like having an orange cream shake).

1 mom found this helpful

Has she seen a speicalist? Has she had this problem all her life? Have you tried senna? it is a natural stool softner I give to my son who has constipation issues due to medication. It is natural and doesnt caue the cramps laxatives cause and you can give it to her every day. My son will take 2 every 4 hours for the first day and then 2 a night until he is empty and then one a night to keep it soft and normal.

Also, have you heard of hirschsprungs. it is a disorder where part of the bowel is missing ganglian cells and so it doesnt move things through the bowel. there can be severe cases and mild cases. in the mild cases it is still possible to have a bowel movement but severe constipation is a symptom. My son was born with this in a more moderate form and he didnt have a bowel movement for the first 3 months of his life without assistance. It can be milder and go unnoticed untl a child is older. so I think try the senna and then ask to see a specialist. This is not normal and needs to be solved, if it has gotten this bad it needs more than an enema. If I can tell you any more about what I know message me and good luck.

1 mom found this helpful

Please talk to your Dr. about getting her on to Miralax every day. It is a miracle laxative! She needs it every day. It doesn't have a flavor and it goes into anything she drinks. It has been a LIFE SAVER for my daughter and me. It doesn't take long for it to work but just remember it might get worse before it can get better. She has to get out what is in there! I also put my daughter on acidophallus (probiotic) and her abdominal pain is almost completely gone. Read my request to hear my daughters story. I have been to the gastro specialist and was pretty disappointed with what they had to offer my daughter but he did mention the probiotic. He also told me to expect my daughter to be on laxatives for the long haul. I would also limit her dairy content. My daughter drinks soy milk and her acidophallus is soy based. Dairy is a major constipator. Write me back if you have any questions.
Good luck and don't wait!

1 mom found this helpful

Hi K.,

My best friend went through this with her daughter for a couple years. After trying every remedy in the book, she finally concluded that is was stress related (my friend was in a bad marriage at the time). Could there be anything that is causing your daughter stress or anxiety? If so, she may be trying to "control" the situation by subconciously "controlling" her bowel movements. I know my friend found that once she left her husband (not child's father and an alcoholic) things improved drastically. I am not suggesting anything like this for you, your daughter's stress, if she has it, could be caused by any number of things, school, friends, etc. Just a thought as I felt for you when I read your post.

Good luck.


1 mom found this helpful

Poor baby! HAve you tried taking her to a childrens hospital or to her pedi. to do some tests? Maybe she has a blockage somewhere. I honestly dont think she should be on laxitives or enemas. If you give to many of these the body relays on it and its the only way she'll be able to use the bathroom.(from what my son's doctor has told me)

1 mom found this helpful

Oh K., I feel for you and your daughter and family in this tough situation! I would suggest you do some research on encopresis, because it sounds like to me this is what your daughter is struggling with. It's a very tough thing to experience, and you do want to get a handle on it now while she is still relatively young, because it can persist into the teen years and really cause embarrassment and social/emotional wounding. It is not your "fault" that she has this issue, and it sounds like you are trying to help her in all the ways you can think of.

Here are some links about encopresis (if this post allows them to remain) - I made them into TinyURLs so they would be shorter. Email me if they don't work and I'll email you privately.


http://www.angelfire.com/biz6/Encopresis/fiber.html (an encopresis diet posted by a mom of a child with this problem)

http://tinyurl.com/2xoakg (several pages of info)

If you Google on encopresis you should find much more info.
I really hope you can find some help for your little girl - you are wise to be seeking specialist intervention, I think.
Good luck!

S. M.

1 mom found this helpful

I don't have any magic answers, but I am wondering what the "special diet" is and if you have taken her to see specialist? I can not imagine what this is doing to your daughter. It would be humiliating, and is going to give her long term self esteem issues if you don't find a solution. I am sure you already know this, and that is why you are asking for advice. I have had problems my entire life with constipation. Even as an adult, I have gone weeks without going "#2" but NEVER did my mom give me an enema. I would have been horrified. It makes me shutter at the thought. Currently, I eat a very high fiber breakfast cereal with soy milk in the morning, and wash it down with some apple juice. I eat fiber brownies for snacks (I can give you this recipe if you would like, they are really good), and when times get really "hard" I have a Burgerking hamburger and fries. Sometimes I notice that lack of fat in my diet makes things worse. That usually does the trick. I also eat lots of fruits and veggies, which really doesn't help tho. There is also a laxitive tea in the healthfood section that helps. It gives over night relief.
Good luck!!!

1 mom found this helpful

I'd go back to the dr and tell him/her the laxative didn't work. You could call the office and talk with the nurse to see if they have another suggestion. It is important to end the constipation and there could be a medical cause that needs treatment.

Constipation can be caused by several different things. From your description I'm wondering if emotions have become a part of what may have started out as a physical problem. You are having to pay an awful lot of attention to her bowel movements.

My grandson was chronically constipated thruout the first 3 years of his life. The dr prescribed several different treatments. Does she have a diet high in fiber and water? whole wheat bread and cereals, raw fruits and vegetables, very little refined or pre-prepared foods, nuts, navy beans and such. Does she avoid milk, cheese, applesauce, bananas all of which can be constipating. Is she drinking several 8 oz glasses of water each day? Have you tried Benefiber or one of the psyllium seed laxatives? They're both a powder that you stir into a liquid?

When you say the prescribed laxative makes it worse do you mean that she then has diarrhea. (I don't know what you mean by "soiling because of constipation.") If she has diarrhea, change the dose or the frequency. We had to do that with my grandson until we found the amount that worked.

I have irritable bowel syndrome and I've heard that kids can have that too. I've learned that if I don't make time to sit on the toilet every day I end up constipated. And so my routine is to spend 10 minutes or so every morning just waiting to see if I'll have a movement. Usually I do. I think it's the routine, same time, everyday that has trained my body. I read the paper. I make sure that I have no stress. If I'm anxious about getting to the next task of the day or anything about the day I will usually not have a movement. But then I'll have diarrhea in a couple of days. I will feel uncomfortable, ie; constipated until I do have the movement but I don't focus on that and do not treat it. I will consciously be sure to spend some quiet time just sitting on the toilet and usually that does the job.

Even if your daughter doesn't have IBS just having a non stressful daily routine may help. At this point she is so afraid of the pain that her body could be with holding the feces in an attempt to prevent the pain.

Another piece of information: I think that constant use of some forms of a laxative can also cause constipation because your body stops acting to push the feces out.

A home rememdy that has worked in my family for generations is Milk of Magnesa stired into prune juice. Start with the amount recommended for children on the bottle. If that doesn't work after a few days of using that amount you can increase it. Or you may have to decrease the amount because it works "too well." When my aunt was in her 70's the normal dose gave her explosive diarrhea. She'd been using it all of her life because she was chronically constipated.

And I wonder if an enema doesn't work how do you know that she's constipated. Perhaps there is nothing there to come out. My brothers had difficulty with constipation and I don't remember an enema not ever working. Not everyone has a daily bowel movement.

I would definately stop spending hours trying to get her to deficate. I'd definately return to the dr, tell him her symptoms, what you are doing, and ask for help once more. What you are describing is not only not healthy physically but also not healthy emotionally.

I, too, would have a broken heart, as you describe it. I agree with you. This cycle has to stop.

My heart goes out to you and your little girl. I completely understand how you feel when you say it breaks your heart. I have several friends who have felt the same way in the past. I just wanted to throw it out there that I have found that the Herbal Colon Cleanse from Arbonne International is gentle enough to use on children and combined with their fiber shake, it is absolutely amazing. I haven't heard of it not working for anyone yet. I have had problems with constipation in the past and the results I get from these 2 products is completely freeing! I just wanted to let you know that it's something else you might want to look into and talk to your doctor about. Good luck to you!


I understand what your daughter is going trough, I was born with mega-colon (rare thing that your colon is very big, so you do not feel the need to go until a LOT is accumulated), so I have been constipaded most of my life, my normal timing was once a week, it hurted a lot, so I just avoided going.
I remember when I was a kid my mom gave rewards everytime I went, all my food had fiber, I was not allowed to eat certain things, and I had to eat others I hated.
Enemas and supositories were my weekly "friends" or would I rather say enemies.
My mom even brought a nurse home from another town because she had a reputation of putting enemas that did not hurt.
I was hospitalized twice with intestinal obstruction. 33 days is my record without going!
So as you can see this has been an issue all my life, I have tried EVERYTHING, senokot, ex-lax, metamucil, milpar, you name it.
Three years ago I discovered something called TE MASKAM, it is an indian infusion made with senna leaves, it relly works great. I take half glass before going to bed, and I go EVERY morning.
The down side is first is addictive, if I dont take I dont go, so for a girl I do not not it will be right, second is hard to find, I have to bring it from Venezuela, and third at the beggining it gives you some cramps, this only last for the first weeks, until you find your correct dosage.
Well this is my experience, if you will like me to I can mail you one box, so you can try it and see if it works for her, a have a big supply at home, you can also try senna pils, you can get those in any CVS, when I run out of maskam I take those and they work, not as good but it is something.
Well I hope this helps, poor girl, I am with her, you can call me at ###-###-####. Take care.

Hi K., I've read some of the responses and I tried many of these as well. My 5 year old also has had constipation issues since the age of 9 months. At that age the Dr. recommended mineral oil which didn't work, tryed suppositories as well, with no results. We had it under control with diet changes until recently. We were in a car accident 2 years ago and potty training went out the window completely. She now has the soiling issue that you speak of, and the Dr.s say stool softeners, which are not working either. We are presently trying to sit on the toilet everyday, although this is a fight(I don't have to go). I don't have any advice but wanted to let you know you're not the only one out there with this problem. Would like to maybe chat now and then over ideas, or possible Dr.s who fix the solution. Sincerely, M.

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