My 3 Year Old Son Says It Stings When He Poops.

Updated on July 31, 2010
S.J. asks from Winchester, OR
10 answers

For the last week my 3 year old son says it "stings" when he poops. Today he is trying to hold it in because he says it hurts too much to poop. He usually poops once a day and it is soft so I don't think he is constipated. He eats a variety of foods and I can't think of any that are especially spicy or acidic. His bottom does not look red or irritated. Just to be on the safe side I did ask him if anyone has ever touched his bottom and he said yes. Concerned, but trying to stay calm I asked him "Who?" He told me the names of a few of his little playmates. Relieved, I realized he just meant when they were wrestling or chasing each other around at our playdate the other day. Whew! Anyway, if anyone else has had this problem I would appreciate your input or advice.

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answers from Anchorage on

I don't know if I would take him to a doctor just yet; my daughters had problems with constipation when they were younger. It could just be that he has been a little stopped up this week, tore a little bit and each time it opened back up. I would try and give him foods that will help tackle constipation and maybe put a little (teeny) amount of Desatin on his bum to help make it feel better.

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answers from Chicago on

My son had the same problem...we ended up in the emergency room.
He was so full of poop the x-ray was distorted looking. The ER doc told us to give him Miralax every day in 4 oz of liquid.

It works! My son is regular and does not hurt when he poops.

Side note for you- my sons bowel movements looked soft too so I did not worry too much. The ER doc said that was becuase the mass was blocking solid waste from leaving his body, but more liquid or "soft" waste was coming out around the mass of hard waste.

Good luck, poor guy!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

vaseline will fix it right up.

It could be that his stomach is just dumping too much acid for his bile to take care of (bile neutralizeds acid... it's why when we have diarrhea it burns, because there's not enough bile or time for the bile to neutralize the acid)... or he could have had a hard poop and ripped a little bit.

In either case, the vaseline on his bum will fix it. Just apply a generous dab and smear it around.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Saw something like this on the tv recently.

Children sometimes have difficulty describing what they are feeling. That means although your son says it stings he may be experiencing pain.

The boy on TV had an anal fissure and each time he passed a bowel motion it was tearing and causing him pain which he described as feeling funny. The pain meant he tried not to go to the toilet and that led to constipation which caused even more pain when he finally went

I would suggest a trip to the doctors to have your son examamined. It may be nothing but better to be safe and find out if something is wrong before it gets worse.

The boy on tv was prescribed laxatives which made it easier for him to go to the toilet and gave the fissure time to heal.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Indianapolis on

It's possible it's a few different things:

1. Anal fissure - small tear in the brittle skin of the anus.
They're awfully painful and require time to heal.

2. Hemorrhoids - vericose veins either internally or externally
Most of us know about them from pregnancy, but they're much more common when someone tries to pass a hard stool. I had them terribly when going through chemo.

3. He may simply not be able to articulate exactly what's going on. Our son will be 4 on Friday and still can't tell us when he's hungry. Perhaps he's using the word "sting" in place of something else that may require you to ask more questions for clarity.

One thing that can result from the pain is a condition called Encopresis. Our daughter has it thanks to a bout with constipation a few months ago. It's basically when they'll psychologically withhold the poop until it eventually leaks drying the stool even further. They literally have to be retrained to poop again.

I'd not recommend giving him anything until you've spoken with the pediatrician and gotten their recommendation. Even over the counter medications can be very inappropriately used. In our case, we do give our daughter 1/2 capful of Miralax/day, but that was only upon the Pediatrician's advice after many other, less invasive attempts to add fiber, liquid, etc. failed.

Good luck. Here's what the American Academy of Pediatrics has to say about the topic:

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

He probably has a tear on the inside of is anus from a previous bowel movement. Believe it or not you can get these even with soft poops - it's the quantity that comes out all at once that sometimes tears the anus. My friend who is a pediatric surgeon says that it's pretty common among babies on up to grade school kids. Sometimes it even causes constipation as the child learns to hold the bowel movement as long as possible which again just causes tears. She prescribe an ointment for my daughter that numbs the tissue in that area until it heals. My daughter was about 12 months when I had to use it and it takes about 4 - 6 weeks to heal. I'm not sure if they do the same for older kids, but I'm sure if you ask your pediatrician she/he will be able to examine the area for tears and give you a prescription if that is the problem.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

It is possible that he had a harder/larger poop than normal a week ago that caused a small tear. Reassure him that you understand there is some pain, and that it will go away faster if he just trusts his body to do what it needs to do, which is get rid of the old food so he can take in the new food. Trying to stop the pain from ever happening will probably only make it harder, so it's better to just get those poops out while they are soft and easy.

Here's a thought; offer to rub a little A&D Ointment on his anus before he poops to protect him from irritation. You could also press a little bubble of it inside, since if there's a tear, that's most likely where it would be. If he's convinced there will be less pain, there probably will be less pain. Just as the reverse is true.

Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

He may have food allergies which burn as they come out not fully digested.
He could be allergic to strong tasting things or something simple like oranges or pineapple.
Get him allergy tested.



answers from Seattle on

Try giving him cranberry juice and lots of water!



answers from New York on

We had a similar issue in that our child had pain in his rectal area when pooping. Coincident with him becoming potty trained (in fact the trigger was BECAUSE of it-- he had a really itchy rash and said "I'm not going caca in my diaper anymore so I don't get a rash"). Treated few days with Desitin. Itching mostly went away within a few days. Redness in area but read that was normal when switching from wipes to toilet paper. Off an on had some painful bowel movements and some bleeding on paper that we thought was due to rash, i.e. there was no blood in stool. Thought he was just pushing too hard so worked with him on that for a few weeks. Finally took him in today and they did a culture. postive for rectral strep (Perianal Streptococcal Dermatitis)10 days on amoxicillian.

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