34 answers

My 6 Year Old Son Has Not Had a Bowel Movement in 3 - 4 Weeks

We recently moved into our new house about 8 weeks ago and since then our oldest boy who is 6 has not wanted to go poop on the toilet. It has not been almost 3 - 4 weeks since he has had a bowel movement. I have taken him to the doctor a couple of times and he said to try Mineral Oil and a stool softener. I have read to him in the bathroom while he is on the toilet. Nothing seems to help. Does anyone have any suggestions?

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

First, let me thank everyone who responsed to my situation. Everyone had such good advise. On Friday, I called a friend who is a peditrician to see what she thought of the situation. She said to give him more of the mineral oil and miralax. She said to stay away from "white" food and also give him senicot 2 - 3 times a day. He had a big bowel movement on Saturday morning and several others during the weekend. He is much happier to get the "crap" out of him.

Again, Thank you all for giving me such good advise. I greatly appreciated it and it pushed me to cal my friend to get a second opinion.

Featured Answers

My chiropractor Dr. Steven Kingston in Portland, has had much success treating children with constipation, and after an adjustment, relief is usually soon to follow! Chiropractic also settles down kids, helps them sleep better etc..

3 moms found this helpful

I would honestly take him to another dr. That could be serious if they have not gone to the bathroom in that long. We do give my 4 yr miralax, dr. suggested, and that seems to help, but that long with no stool might suggest another issue. Hope you get the help

2 moms found this helpful

as the teens like to say these days --OMG! 3 to 4 WEEKS?? Really??? Get him a new pediatrician or at the very least an immediate referal to a gastro specialist. I can't believe this little guy isn't in complete discomfort. I've had friends with children with chronic constipation issues, but even they didn't go 4 weeks. Poor baby-- and poor momma, you must be going crazy, too.

Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

If he really hasn't pooped in 3-4 weeks, I think you need to do something about this quite quickly, because a system literally can't take all this **** building up. Can you imagine if no one took out the garbage for 4 weeks!!! Cos this is the equivalent of not pooping for this long.

The first 2 answers on this post addressed habitual constipation but it sounds like your son has only had this problem since the move, and therefore it is emotional in it's source.
Having a bowel movement is literally about "letting go" so he is likely having issues with leaving somewhere familar where it was comfortable to "just let it all out", to a new place where he feels a bit uptight and insecure.

I don't know if you had to go through the potty training bit when pooping became an issue. Many children train easily peeing, but can't do the poop part cos they feel that when they poop, they are losing part of themselves and it is really scary to see it dissapear down the flushing thing. So he may be revisiting this but in a different stage - he knows that pooing is fine, but just not here!

So you need to address that for sure but in the short term, you really need to empty the garbage as it were, cos it is really unhealthy at best and potentially very dangerous at worst to not go for this long.

I would try a suppository. You can get them for kids at New Seasons in the kids health section. They slide very easily and painlessly into the anus and minutes or soon after, they can't help but go. There is something about lightly stimulating the anus, and then as the suppository dissolves, everything can't help but slide out, and in volumes, so be ready!!
You can try prunes, flax seed, slipper elm, more water, avoiding too many crackers and drying foods etc to soften the stool so that it comes out easier and ensures that constipation isn't the problem, but it doesn't sound as if this is why he is not going.

As I said, the suppositories are just to get some poop moving and show him that letting go in this place is just as fine as the old home. So make sure you do it under very reassurring circumstances. Then continue to work on the other pieces and use the suppositories if they work and help, just to demonstrate this. If you are having to use them every day to make him poop, or if you are still having to use them periodically after 3 weeks, despite working on the emotional issues surrounding it, then maybe you have to consider another course. But in my opinion, you don't have to see a gastroenterologist, as long as you get that poop out soon!!

Wishing you well in your new home, and I hope you have many opportunities to flush your new toilet!
Helen

3 moms found this helpful

My chiropractor Dr. Steven Kingston in Portland, has had much success treating children with constipation, and after an adjustment, relief is usually soon to follow! Chiropractic also settles down kids, helps them sleep better etc..

3 moms found this helpful

Has it really been 3-4 weeks? If so I would talk to the doc aagin. I can't imagine having 4 weeks worth of poo still inside me. I remember after my babies were born not being able to go for 3 or 4 days and that was awful! It sounds toxic to the system. How is he feeling? Sick at all? Does he feel like he needs to go but just can't?

Do you think it is nerves from moving and all the change that comes with it? How does he feel about not pooping? Is he concerned or uncomfortable about it? Does he have any ideas why he can't poop? Has he had a really painful poop right before all this started? Try getting to the emotions behind it in a supportive empathetic way. Share stories of you being nervous and unsure about change and you got through it. Validate his feelings and help him through the transition.

You should also try lots of water, fiber (yummy bran muffins), prunes (very tasty and VERY effective), no sugar, more exercise.

Good luck

3 moms found this helpful

First, please seek a second opinion from another doctor. Your poor little boy must be feeling just awful! I have given this advice to many because it was a miracle for us. My daughter suffered many, many bouts of constipation from 3 years old to about 8 years old. Finally a pharmacist friend told me about Fletchers Castoria. It was a God send! Takes great, like root beer syrup. Works quickly but naturally. It doesn't have the harsh side effects that many stimulant laxatives or suppositories have. No cramping or uncontrollable bowel movements. Very natural, very easy and easy to take because it is quite yummy. You will more than likely need to ask the pharmacist for it. Many places do not keep it on the shelves - too much temptation for some with eating disorders. I hope your little one is feeling better soon. good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

My grandson was chronically constipated during his toddler and preschool years. He never went more than a few days without a bowel movement. I'fe read that if one goes too long without a movement their bowels are probably impacted. Take him to a doctor right away.

If he's feeling OK and not complaining of pain or discomfort he's having bowel movements or he is not feeling the compaction. Not feeling is a medical issue as well as actually not having bowel movements. Another cause could be that he wants to be secretive about them. Some kids are embarrassed by bodily functions.

I also think that his constipation could be related to the adjustments of your move. Try talking with him in a calm supportive way about your move and how he feels about it. And be sure to be understanding about anything that he says.

Is it possible that with the stress of moving and all that involves that you have expressed frustration or even anger to him about his bowel movements. Some kids are really sensitive to what they perceive as a negative view from parents about themselves and their bodily functions. Combine a new home with a fear of his own body being unable to perform and/or a fear of the pain and you have a reason for constipation

My grandson's pediatrician did not know why my grandson was constipated but she prescribed medication for him. She never suggested mineral oil or stool softener. Today mineral oil is rarely used because frequent use can deplete the body of nutrients. Stool softeners can become addictive. She did prescribe a medicated glycerine suppository. As I recall that didn't help my grandson. Yes, he would have a painful bowel movement at that time but would then be constipated again.

I wonder if your son's doctor realizes how long he goes between bowel movements. From your description I think that he could have a serious medical problem. If his doctor is not adequately addressing this problem you might get a second opinion. Consulting with a pediatric gastroenterologist could be very helpful.

And I repeat that lots of water and a diet high in fiber are very important. You can find how much fiber food contains by reading the label. Anything less than 3 grams/serving does not have sufficent fiber. Try switching to a product that has more fiber. Eating refined foods such as white bread, processed cereals, cookies, cakes, those high in sugar are most likely to add to the constipation problem.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm with Kathy D...O-M-G!!! New Dr NOW!!! I am surprised enemas haven't been used or suggested? My daughter is 9 and has crohns disease...a bowel problem you really don't want to deal with. You need to get this under control and NOW.

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Hi S.,

I have had my fair share of this issue with my own son who is now 9. He holds in his BM's literally until he is so sick he can't stand up straight. We ended up taking him to a gastroentologist who did several tests and found that he needed daily assistance in relaxing to have a BM. It was so bad that at 6 my son had bleeding hemmoroids! We put him on Miralax (you can get this at any pharmacy now without a prescription) and gave him apples and lots of high fiber fruits and veggies daily! If push comes to shove....give him a concoction of 2 ounces warm prune juice mixed with a dose of Milk of Magnesia (have him drink it through a straw really fast....it won't taste as bad!). Try one thing at a time though and give it time to work. If he still isn't having results in a couple days of trying these things I would take him back to the Dr with a list of things you have done and get a referral. My son had a pretty severe bowel obstruction that required hospitalization for, and they ended up putting in a nasogastric tube (the tube that goes through your nose into your stomach) and they had to give him 2 gallons of "Go-Litely" to clean him out! Since then I have been completely on top of it with daily stool softeners and lots of fiber and water in his diet.

I hope this is helpful......
I don't know if your Dr. told you but when there is change and things in their environment are out of their control they will control things that they can.....like their BM's! Maybe you could let him help make that toilet "his" by taking him to buy a really squishy toilet seat cover of his choice.....
we drained the water out of our toilet and let it dry and then had our son use special paint for the toilet and let him paint a design in it!

Take Care...

S.

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Hi S.,

I wanted to second what Jenn said.

I'm thinking he might be upset about the move and all the new things going on (new school, having to make new friends there, new house, new neighborhood, having to make new friends there), but also there may be some other medical reason. If the doc wasn't concerned about it after *that* long, I'd definately see another doc. That is way too long to be stopped up.

Like Jenn said, try and get him to share with you why he's not going, if it is in fact an emotional thing.

Good luck to your little man. I hope he gets better. :o)

K. W

2 moms found this helpful

S.,

What has he been eating lately? Are his foods full of fiber, veggies, fruits, etc.? Is he drinking enough water? I would first rule out these things, and if suppositories and such are just a temporary fix you might try a chiropractor. My friend's child was about your son's age and was having terrible constipation. He went to a chiropractor, got adjusted, and is fine now. Sometimes kids, especially boys, with all their rough and tumbling, can get a little out of alignment which can disrupt the digestive system. Hope this helps!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi, S.! Your son's problem raises as a few questions in my mind. And notice that I've labelled this "your son's problem" - not "your problem" - and I would give this back to him if you've taken it over. My first suggestion is that you not make too big a deal over this. Moving is stressful (isn't it!?) and everyone in the family is undoubtedly making an adjustment and needs a bit more attention. If the not-pooping thing is giving your eldest some much-needed attention, you might want to make sure he doesn't get attention for that, but gets attention for other things.

In the meantime, let's think about pooping in particular. Since he's six and maybe is going to school or visiting friends, can you be certain that he's not using the bathroom away from home? He might be. And make sure that his diet includes fruit and whole grains and that he's not filling up on processed foods and juice. Finally, make sure that he's getting outdoor exercise every day - get out to the park or even just walk together.

Finally, think about the bathroom in the new house with a six-year-old's eye - and ear. Is there anything off-putting about the toilet? Does it make a lot of noise when it flushes, is the seat uncomfortable for a six-year-old or too high or too low? Is there anything else in the bathroom at kid-eye level that might be scary or upsetting? Kids this age have good imaginations! Think like a kid.

I think if you do these three things - make sure his digestive system is working and has material to work with, make sure the bathroom is not scary, and most of all let your son deal with this problem himself - I think you will find things solve themselves eventually.

I am available for more thinking-together if you need it. Visit me at http://mothersmentor.blogspot.com and click on the email link.

Best wishes!

D.. A

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This is not normal and not OK! Is he pooping somewhere else? Is there a problem physically inside (internal organs...), mentally in his head (issues about the move, not adjusting to his new home...?), or something else? If he really hasn't pooped for this long, please consider taking him to a different doctor (pediatrician), or the Emergency Room. I could make additional suggestions to help him poop, but if it has been this long, he needs a professional physician involved. Don't wait. If/when he does poop, be sure and look at it (take a picture- I know this sounds weird, but if your son has a physical abnormality, or swallowed something that could be causing a blockage, 'what the poop looks like' may help the doctor figure out what is wrong- shape, bloody, black, pale,...). Do it today. Don't wait. Don't wait.

2 moms found this helpful

Go to the health food store and buy some ground flaxseed. Put 1/4 Cup of the flaxseed on the various foods he eats during the day...some in his peanut butter sandwich, some in his cereal, some in some yogert, etc. Use it all up.
Don't worry about it. He will be going to the bathroom after eating the flax...and it will be a pleasant experience. :)
P.s. Everyone in the family should use flax daily. Its very good for ya.

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I agree with many of the replies. You need to get the problem fixed ASAP, then work on the reason and prevention second. I would go with an enema. Not pleasant, but very effective. You can use fleets for children, or this home-made recipe (used at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital where I used to work): about 2 oz molasses dissolved in 6 oz warm whole milk. Don't know why, but it worked every time!

At the very least, try a glycerin suppository. I would NOT reccomend any stimulant-type laxitive, unless directed by your doctor... these can lead to painful cramping.

My son actually has the opposite problem, with frequent loose stools, so thinking backwards, here are some foods to try and avoid for YOUR situation:

Try: apple or prune juice, LOTS of water, oatmeal, black beans, whole-wheat bread, apples, pears, cherries, flax seed (add it to oatmeal...you can also get oil in the health-food section)

Avoid: bananas. applesauce, rice, cheese/dairy, "white" starches (white bread, potatoes, etc)

Hope this helps!

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If it has been 3-4 weeks, TAKE HIM TO A GASTEROENTEROLOGIST! That could be very serious! The stress of moving may have given him a nasty bout with constipation and there may be some major blockage! My son (3 1/2) is undergoing treatment for major constipation. There are things that help. Enemas are not plesant, but they help...particularly fleets enemas. My son had to have two of those and has been on miralax for 2 months (and still has 2 more to go at least). Miralax is a GREAT safe stool softener and it is easy to find. It is a powder that you mix into juice or water. I would recommend seeing a specialist (gasteroenterologist) before you do anything else. It is pretty far for you to travel, but I know of a good pediatric one in Tacoma. I don't know the childrens hospitals in Bellingham (or anything else for that matter). I wish I could be of more help, but I would get your son to a specialist in a hurry. Don't just take a general practitioner's advice to just try mineral oil and a stool softener and hope it goes away!

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Hi S.,

That sounds too long to not have a bowel movement. Did the doctor not feel concern to investigate this further? Also, does your son currently eat a high fiber diet? If not try whole grain (WW breads/crackers/pasta, brown rice, etc--read ingredient listing on package since something brown doesn't always make it whole grain/high fiber), fresh fruits (except maybe banana since it can be constipating) and vegetables. You should also increase your son's fluid intake (water) with this increase intake of fiber. Hopefully this helps. Good luck.

A.

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I would honestly take him to another dr. That could be serious if they have not gone to the bathroom in that long. We do give my 4 yr miralax, dr. suggested, and that seems to help, but that long with no stool might suggest another issue. Hope you get the help

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Has the doctor checked to see if perhaps your son might have a hernia?

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First let me start by saying I know what your going through! My son has had this problem off and on for YEARS, and it takes a toll on the whole family! He started holding it in after potty training, we have used the daily powder laxative his pediatrician recommended, and I must say our first mistake was thinking the problem was under control and not using it anymore. I honesly believe it is a control issue (moving into a new is quite a shock for a 6 year old he has left the only home he's ever known and doesn't know how to deal with some of the feelings he's having) I notice my son's problem gets worse when he's stressed out about things (school, his older brother being to bossy, etc.) The best advice I can give you is to start on the daily laxative and stay on it for as long as your pediatrician recommends (at least a few months) the problem is when they hold it in for so long the stool becomes large and dry so it is very painful, then the next time they have to go not only do they have the control issue but now the fear of pain as well, my son has gone weeks without a bowel movement too! Scolding doesn't work, any kind of stress just adds to the problem. Having my son take a hot shower or bath helps relax him when I know he has to go, (I find him in bed under the blankets complaining he's cold.) Having him sit on the potty and read, or reading to him helps, even his gameboy to help distract him. I have started keeping track on a calendar when he goes, and I make sure he doesn't go more than 4 days! One thing I noticed did help change his attitude about having a bowel movement was when I explained how stool is our bodies garbage... when we eat food our body takes out all the good stuff and uses it to help us grow and live, and the bad stuff is turned into stool and we have to get rid of it, I explained how yucky, and stinky our house would be if we kept all our garbage around. He understood and was much more willing to let it go then.
I really hope this helps, again I know the stress this causes, I wish you the best of luck!
Kari

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My son "held it in" and ended up going to the emergency room, getting morphine, x-rays, etc. They ultimately gave him an enema. 3-4 weeks is a very long time to not have a BM. I would give him Miralax is his juice (this will really loosen things and it will have to come out)! I hope this helps, S.

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Fiber and water is important for everyone. Oatmeal has fiber. So do some fruits like apples. You should see a nutritionitst for your childrens health. I've brought fruits and veges, including oatmeal and cheerios to my daughter for good bowel movement.

It is not good for anyone to be constipated. I've seen it happen to a baby and I just felt so bad for her. And this happened almost 20 years ago.

Don't forget about prune juices too. You'll be surprised to find out what you eat for a BM. Good luck to you and the kids.

2 moms found this helpful

If it's been that long, you need to find a new doctor for your son. My daughter was just having some issues with going poop in the toilet, and our doctor said anything over a week is TOO long. She was also prescribed Miralax and it worked in about a day. If he's going poop other places, just not at home, try talking to him about why he doesn't want to. It could be as simple as he doesn't feel "at home" in your new house yet and his fears are coming out as a fear of using the new bathroom.

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Oh poor thing. My grandson has had this problem since birth. His ped suggested Miralax and it's wonderful. He has to take it everyday but it really helps so much. Poor thing just must be so unhappy and hurting. Miralax is not a laxitive but it works with his body to resore his rhytham and it uses the bodies own water to help move things along to normal and soften at the same time. It's safe and no side effects. But our ped suggested it.

Hope this helps, try it!

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I recommend glycerin suppositories. They work quickly and safely. It might take persuasion, and Dad's help, to keep him in place, but once used, it can really help.

If you haven't tried already, you can try offering him a reward for the next time he poops. A long, warm, private bath might be helpful as well. Is your house set up where he can be alone in the tub for a period of time, and still be able to keep an eye on him? Let him relax and have fun in the tub (perhaps let him splash a little more than usual), and then have him sit on the toilet as soon as he is out and dry.

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as the teens like to say these days --OMG! 3 to 4 WEEKS?? Really??? Get him a new pediatrician or at the very least an immediate referal to a gastro specialist. I can't believe this little guy isn't in complete discomfort. I've had friends with children with chronic constipation issues, but even they didn't go 4 weeks. Poor baby-- and poor momma, you must be going crazy, too.

Good luck!

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Umm, has not had a bowel movement or not had one on the toilet? If it has been 3-4 weeks since he has had one at all I would definately get a second opinion, that sounds extremely dangerous! My grandfather died because of toxins in his system from not having a bowel movement. If it is just not in the toilet, I don't know what to tell you because my son won't go poo in the potty either.

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These all would be great ideas if you had the time, but you don't. Enema...NOW! New dr, later. This could, if it already hasn't, cause a blockage that could cause the intestines to die and need removal, or even rupture and cause a serious infection. I wouldn't let myself or my children, go more than a week without going.If you give enemas, and they don't produce results within 30min., go straight to the ER, as it is beyond self-help and they will need to do an xray to see what's going on. I just want to say again how serious this is. There are millions of bacteria in there that can cause serious illness.

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Okay, that is a little too long. A friend of mine had this problem with her daughter and the doctor had to give her something to have a BM (diarrea at this point)because her body forgot how to have one on a regular basis. They took an x-ray and it showed how backed up she really was. This is very bad and I would call another doctor for a second opinion. 3-4 weeks is a little impossible, but I know it can feel that way if it isn't happening on a regular basis. This is not normal and having this issue will be a struggle for both of you, but you need to take care of this now, so it doesn't become a bigger problem later. Hope this helps. Good luck.

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maybe he is scared of the new toilet maybe try a potty chair. good luck also bran cereal

1 mom found this helpful

I highly recommend taking him to see a naturopathic doctor because they have many many more effective remedies to try to constipation than the MD or DO. There are numerous excellent pediatric naturapothic doctors in Seattle: Felice Barnow, Kim Kelley, Candace Aasan, Molly Linton, Chenelle Roberts, Molly Grey, Tracy McDaniels, Sheila Kingsbery. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Miralax & apple prune juice might be worth a try.

1 mom found this helpful

Cheese is notorious for constipating kids. I would suspend all junk food (if he eats any) and have a lot more fruit, vegies, whole grains around, and encourage him to drink a lot more water. Also, those fancy yogurts are supposed to help regulate people that way. Don't mention it again and give him one of those yogurts a day, as well as a lot more fruit (no sugar, cheese, junk) and hopefully it will work its way out.

1 mom found this helpful

If your son has not had a bowel movement for 3 - 4 weeks, you should be sitting in the ER right now. I hope you meant that he has not had a bowel movement on the toliet for 3 - 4 weeks! I agree with the other posters get the problem fixed, then get a new doctor.

1 mom found this helpful

I know a kid who had this problem. Get an x-ray. The kid I know of had to take meds for this. Also try raisins, any time my kids eat them they go pretty regular.

1 mom found this helpful

My daughter had a problem withher daughter my granddaughter and she went and got some Miralax from the pharmacy. They sell it over the counter now. She had used this when she was an infant but it wasaprescription from the doctor at that time. Itworked great within very little time after she had taken it without any cramps or pain. Iwould suggest thatyou go andget some and give it to him untilhegoes. That is a very long time. It works miracles and is very gentle and non-habit forming. L.

1 mom found this helpful

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