18 answers

Nervous Stomach

My daughter will be 9 in a few weeks and is in the 4th grade. I have always taken her to school, but she is riding the bus to school this year. She has about 1 hr between the time she gets up and the time she catches the bus and routinely goes poop at least 2-3 times per morning (most seem to be normal stools – no diarrhea) . She also feels like she has to go poop several times during school, but has difficulty going when she gets to the bathroom.

Last week was TERRIBLE with multiple times in the potty, tears and her saying she didn’t want to go to school. This week has been somewhat better in that we’ve not had any tears, but she still spends a lot of time in the bathroom.

We've gone to the pediatrician and have ruled out anything medical. I've also spoken to the guidance counselor at school who has spoken with my daughter. She told the counselor that she likes riding the bus because it makes her feel like a "big girl", but has some anxieties about leaving me and says she thinks about me and her Dad several times during school. She has always been somewhat of a clinger, but it seems to be worse now.

My husband and I are happily married for 15 years, rarely argue and would never do so in front of our daughter.

The pediatrician suggested using a homeopathic mist which we have been using for about a week. Last night we started reading & discussing as a family a new book that talks about feelings and emotions. I’m almost at my wits end and don’t know what else to do. Has anyone else had a similar situation? How did you resolve?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

My 9 year old son just went through the same thing. We just moved here 6 months ago and his nerves about going to school were very bad. Sometimes he'd be constipated and other times he'd go several times a day complaining of stomach problems. We took him to doctor too and nothing was wrong but stress. Sometimes kids over react or really don't even know what's going on. I tried to make things as comfortable as I could. Talk to her about when you or husband took the bus and fun times on it. Changes are really dramatic to children. It'll take time, but she'll get used to it. Keep telling her how proud you are of her. I talked to my son's teacher, principal, and guidance counselor. Everyone can work together for a child to get through a difficult time. The counselor even told us for him to take 3 deep breaths, close his eyes, sing a part of his favorite song, then tell himself he's safe and he's gonna have a good day.
Good luck and best wishes!!

2 moms found this helpful

You may want to take her to a child psycologist to see if she has any anxiety issues. It can strike very young children. My brother started having severe anxiety issues when he was in 6th grade and I have a friend whose daughter started to have anxiety issues in 2nd grade. A psychologist can at least talk to her to find the root of the issue and see if the problem is environmental or something more severe.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

I would go and get a second opinion from an allergist just to rule out any intolerances. This would be the type of thing a general pediatrician wouldn't be equipped to test for. My hubby has a lactose intolerance and has the same type of symptoms you described. If he drinks too much milk, he gets an urgency for bowel movements (sometimes nothing happens) and uses the bathroom frequently (it's not diarrhea, either), or has an upset stomach. When we got married, I told him this was not normal- he just thought this happened to everyone! He mentioned it to the doctor who said to scale back the dairy in his diet, and it has helped tremendously. Anyway, I didn't know if you had considered this, but it might be worth looking into. Nerves may just aggravate an already existing problem, or bring it to light as she is probably embarrassed to go the bathroom around her peers. I hope she feels better soon!

3 moms found this helpful

Hi K.,

I'm not sure that you've really ruled out anything "medical" by just seeing the pediatrician. I think you should see a pediatric gastroenterologist. Also start making a food diary, at least a few weeks worth, detailing everythng that she eats so that you can take it with you.

It is kind of unusual for an 8 year old to have to poop so many times during the day. We make poop because of what isn't used after we eat, though diarrhea is a bit different.

The books you are reading sound great, but I would do more investigating on the physical side of the equation, if I were you.

Good luck,
D.

3 moms found this helpful

You might want to consider Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) a tapping technique on acupressure points that is perfect for fears like this. There is a free downloadable manual at www.emofree.com - click on Get Started Free.

Here is a link with many examples of how it has helped children - http://www.emofree.com/articles.aspx?id=9

Here is a link that explains a simple routine for using it at bedtime - http://www.emofree.com/tutorial/tutorofifteen.htm

Good luck.

3 moms found this helpful

Has your daughter said much about her experience on the school bus? A simple ride to school with 20 other kids can become a real experience, with all the drama of a television series. There can be teasing. And even if none of that is going on, a school bus is a noisy, rowdy place. (My 14-year old calls me sometimes when he's on the bus. It sounds chaotic.) If your daughter is quiet, and especially if she is sensitive, the bus ride alone could be causing anxiety.

2 moms found this helpful

My 9 year old son just went through the same thing. We just moved here 6 months ago and his nerves about going to school were very bad. Sometimes he'd be constipated and other times he'd go several times a day complaining of stomach problems. We took him to doctor too and nothing was wrong but stress. Sometimes kids over react or really don't even know what's going on. I tried to make things as comfortable as I could. Talk to her about when you or husband took the bus and fun times on it. Changes are really dramatic to children. It'll take time, but she'll get used to it. Keep telling her how proud you are of her. I talked to my son's teacher, principal, and guidance counselor. Everyone can work together for a child to get through a difficult time. The counselor even told us for him to take 3 deep breaths, close his eyes, sing a part of his favorite song, then tell himself he's safe and he's gonna have a good day.
Good luck and best wishes!!

2 moms found this helpful

perhaps she is hitting her teens early. Her body may be starting some changes, and could be in before out, so only she knows and finds it awkward and embarassing. The seperation is getting more common with teens, as the news scares them. No one is safe anywhere and the children are sensing that more than ever. Good luck and God Bless.

2 moms found this helpful

My daughter also had "ruled out anything medical." That left... what? "Mental"? What we found years later , in her teens, is that there are hundreds of medical things to rule out before you can really rule out a medical cause. By then, she had early osteoporosis.

You may want to look into candida overgrowth (needing probiotics) food sensitivities, especially to gluten and cow casein. You may want to take a look at http://www.enterolab.com . Also, I particularly liked the book "Your Symptoms are Real" By Dr. Benjamin Natelson, M.D. about Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Chronic Fatigue, and Fibromyalgia. We found that most doctors don't actually help. It was mind-boggling after years of treating the "mental" that what we should have been doing was treating the physical. Once we did, the mental took care of itself.

I am not suggesting that your daughter's intestinal problems might not be due to an emotional problem. I am just suggesting that there is a lot to look at. I am also not suggesting that psychological therapy is not wonderful even if a problem is biological. Any child with physical problems, pain, suffering, embarrassment, can benefit from psychological counseling.

A glimpse into the path I wish we'd taken instead of the "mental" one with our youngest child is here: http://www.itsnotmental.com

Another great website is: http://www.theglutenfile.com

2 moms found this helpful

Add more fruits and vegetables to her diet and encourage her to drink more water and see if that helps get her more regulated. Did you doctor check her thyroid functions?

2 moms found this helpful

It sounds like your doing all the right things. The only thing that I would suggest is possibly seeking a pschologist. This sounds a lot like my Mom when she was young. (She lived close enough to walk to school and would run home because she was thinking about her parents.) She still worries about everything now. When she has a doctor appt. or leave the house for any reason we have to start leaving 45 min. before we actually need to leave because she will go to the bathroom several times before we actually get into the car. This summer my Dad had knee surgery with complications. She was so upset by this that I ended up calling her doctor. He sent out some anxiety medicine. It seemed to help. She only takes it when she is feeling jittery. Your daughter may benefit from talking to someone as well as anxiety medication. I am not sure of the age guidelines. Your daughter may talk about more things with someone other than her guidance counselor. A lot of times kids will only say so much because they feel like it will get back to the parents. If they know that there is a confidentiality they are more willing to talk freely. God Bless and Good Luck.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi K.,

I had a similar situation when I was her age and they found out I had IBS(Irritable Bowel Syndrome). It's nothing serious just more of a nusianse! I just have to watch what I eat. I'm sure by now there are medicines for it so please check with your pediatrician.

Good luck!!

2 moms found this helpful

I agree with what the other mother's suggested. I also wanted to point out that diarrhea doesn't mean runny stools like most people think. It refers to the frequency. Usually it is a bit runny and that's what forces us to go so often - but it's the fact that we have frequent bowel movements that classifies as diarrhea. Her stool can be formed and look normal, but I would be worried if she's going that often because it means her body isn't absorbing the nutrients properly - how can it if food is running right through her?

My son is eight years old (3rd grade) and rides the bus though I dropped him off in 1st and most of second grade. He was nervous the first few days but is fine with it because he liked it. We talked about what to expect and how to handle things that might happen while on the bus or at school before he went though. As far as I can tell, the only thought my son has of me during the day is "what did mom pack for my lunch?" LOL :) I don't think it's normal for a 4th grader to be that anxious about leaving you, that's some severe separation anxiety.

Maybe in addition to going to some specialists to really rule out the medical stuff, maybe have your daughter start talking to a counselor/therapist. You might find that she might need some anxiety medication (or herbs, or might learn techniques to cope with anxiety) and once the anxiety is dealt with the physical symptoms might resolve themselves. It could also be something medical that's being worsened by the anxiety she's dealing with.

I hope you find a solution soon - it can't be pleasant for her to be dealing with all that and it must be worrisome for you! I wish you the best of luck!

2 moms found this helpful

You may want to take her to a child psycologist to see if she has any anxiety issues. It can strike very young children. My brother started having severe anxiety issues when he was in 6th grade and I have a friend whose daughter started to have anxiety issues in 2nd grade. A psychologist can at least talk to her to find the root of the issue and see if the problem is environmental or something more severe.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi K., I believe that my son may be headed down that road too. He is in kindergarten. For some reason he didn't have a problem with pre-K until the last week. But this year, he has a bowel movement every morning before school (unusual for him). He also has cried many days and he talks about missing us while he is at school. It probably has a lot to do with developmental milestones ... which may cause a step back to needing extra security from us.

I used to race competatively in college swimming ... I spent the entire time before my race in the bathroom. Definately a nervous stomach.

It sounds like you are doing really great. I hope that this stage passes for your daughter soon.

D.

2 moms found this helpful

K., Please take her to a GI doctor to rule out anything medical. Pediatricians are wonderful but can sometimes miss something that a specialist can pick up on immediately. It is probably just anxiety but just be sure. My BFFs daughter had the same sounding problem and she did some counseling and is doing great now. See if the guidance counselor at school can see her.

2 moms found this helpful

I was like that when I was her age and I had IBS. Try giving her latinex you get it from the pharmacy but you dont need a perscription for it just ask a pharmacy tech. You can also try giving her fiber one bars but sometimes they can cause gas and that can become embarassing for a school girl. You can also try yogert but it can take a while to work and I dont really like the stuff much less have ot eat it every single day. I still battle with IBS and my nerves make it worse and stress send me running to the bathroom.

2 moms found this helpful

Sounds like anxiety. I love that your Dr suggested a homeopathic rather than a conventional, but I would take it a step further and find a Homeopath to treat her. The right constitutional remedy can really lift a veil.

In the world of homeopathy, it is intended to treat the whole person, not individual symptoms. The homeopathic blends that are created for general use cant address the individual. You will often get a positive result (or nothing at all). But for something as big as anxiety, I think your daughter would benefit from the expertise of a practitioner. Homeopathy is a wonderful, gentle and effective way to address powerful emotional issues.

If you can not find a homeopath in your area, Look for a Naturopath, they often practice homeopathy.

Big hugs, I know it is hard to watch your child struggle!

P. : )

1 mom found this helpful

K., Our daughter would get nauseous and have to run to the bathroom where she would reportedly throw up. Then it got to a point where she couldn't/wouldn't go to school in the mornings because of her stomach. For two years we took her to GI specialists. She was finally diagnosed with "irritable bowel syndrome" due to anxiety. Her anxiety got worse when she started middle school (to having severe anxiety attacks). She has been on Nexium for 2 years (helped a little). She had to start taking anti anxiety medications (helped even more), and began counseling. I would strongly recommend seeing a counselor for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy for anxiety if her bowel situation gets worse. We waited too long til her anxiety got out of hand. It started when she was 10 yrs. old and got bad by 14 (puberty really made it worse).Since all of this, I can't believe how many parents I'v met with children who have anxiety towards school and it affects their lower or upper GI. Good luck, S.

Hi there. I have a 6 yr old that had a similiar problem a few months ago. Turns out she was somewhat dehydrated & constipated. The doctor recommended we use Miralax (otc), make a conscious effort to get her drinking more water, increase her fiber intake, and encourage her to always go the bathroom as soon as she needs to (holding it is bad). We did have success. I know it's frustrating. We had several tardies, a few absences, and plenty of tears. The Miralax is great. It softens the stool and is not addictive. Our doctor mapped out for us how to use this, and taper the amount as progress was made. It was also determined that she may have excess acid in her tummy, so the doctor prescribed a liquid Zantac. I packed an extra water bottle for school...introduced her to prunes, which surprisingly she loved! I did speak with her teacher and t.a. to make them aware of the situation. I know sometimes teachers want kids to wait when they have said they need to go to the bathroom. I made it clear to them that she was to be allowed to go whenever she expressed the need. Good luck...things will get better :)

Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.