Seeking Help with Toddler Constipation/upset Tummy
February 03, 2008
My 2 1/2 year old daughter seems to have an ongoing battle with constipation. When it hits, she'll struggle for hours and sometimes on and off for days (sometimes not sleeping well at night) before we get results. She is very active and we've been treating it mainly with fluids, fiber, bran, and mixing mineral oil into some of her foods. These work, but then a few days later we'll fall right back into a cycle of struggling. This has been going on for several months and I don't want her to suffer with this anymore. Has anyone had experience with anything like this? I would appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thank you!
I have been having the same problem with my 21 month old daughter. I have also been trying to work with her diet with no constant luck in relieving the constipation completly. I have tried to cut back on her intake of milk and cheese and substitute with water and more of the "p" foods (pears, peaches, peas). It works for the day and then we are right back to the hard BM's. You're not alone. I too am looking for help with this situation.
A little about me:
I am a 29 year old mom of two beautiful girls that are 1.5 and 3.5 years old.
I had the same problem with one of my daughters. We use flaxseed oil instead of mineral oil daily in her oatmeal and it help tremendously. It has many nutritional benefits unlike mineral oil which just coats the intestines, flax seed oil has lignans and lots of Omega fatty acids which help with brain function, stronger hair and nails, and any skin issues like eczema. It really is a terrific thing for everyone to use.
My daughter was the same and was on mineral oil, miralax and enulose. Nothing worked. We finally potty trained her at 2.5 years and have't had a problem since. Maybe the sensation of being messy in her diaper was her problem--guess I'll never really know.
Have you tried just a morning cup of prune juice? My two sons (now 4 and 2 1/2)also struggled with constipation. We ended up at the pediatriciams twice with the older one over it. About a year ago, I started giving them prune juice in the morning instead of milk. I mixed it about half and half with water when I was giving it to them in a sippy cup. Now that we've given up sippy cups. I give them a smaller amount in a regular cup with breakfast. Good luck !
Hi - try giving her an apple or a pear everyday, see if that helps.
I have another suggestion. When my daughter was 1, she had terrible constipation - very large hard stools that caused fissures. Her pediatrican said the obvious, eliminate bananas, cut down on cheese, up the fluids - but it wasn't helping. So he suggested 2 tsp of mineral oil mixed with 2 tsp of Hershey's chocolate syrup once a day. The mineral oil is an intestinal lubricant. He said this is fine for kids over 1. Worked like a charm! And she loved it - I think she thought it was dessert. Her pediatrican said to do it once a day for 60 days, and then stop - which we did and she hasn't had any problems since. If this sounds interesting to you, call your pediatrican first (of course). It worked for us.
Talk to your ped. and get a referal to a pediatric gastrointeroligist. My daughter is 3 (today actually!) but has suffered with the same symptoms for sometime. Turns out it was a milk protein allergy...there are 33 diff milk proteins...which was causing her severe constipation. She went on Glycolax which puts h2o back into the colon.
Now she is doing much better and doesnt even need her meds every day. Constipation in kids is a vicious cycle that can strtch out and do damage to their colons because they begin to get scared of their own bodily functions...
Just something to think about!
my best advise to you is to go to your doc. He'll either prescibe you a laxative safe enough for your toddler or prescribe that you use and enema. Either wasy may not be too pleasant but the results are better than your little one suffering. Good luck and hang in there.
I know how you feel and it is so hard to see them so uncomfortable. We dealt with this too off and on for a year,
the worst year of my life. Now I joke about as "The year poop ruled our lives". I did make sure her diet was full of fruits and veggies, she was not a picky eater at the time...so that was good! Lots of melons, plums, pears...green veggies...lots of water and solely pear juice (works great!), no other juice...it seemed to irritate it. My doc had some great advice...with all of these foods use a natural senna stool softener for about 3-6 months, in small doses, it is not going to harm them and they are too young to become addicted to it, it was the only thing that worked for us. We used Fletcher's Natural Kids Laxative (rootbeer flavored), if you cut the dosage in half it becomes a stool softener. It was the only thing that did not cause cramps and that uncontrolled bowel movement feeling you get from laxatives...it made her stool the perfect consistency for an easy, pain free bowel movement. My doc said in children with chronic constipation, compaction of the colon can happen and this can cause the colon and anus to expand and grow larger, this can make it very painful to poop, because it takes more stool to fill up the colon making really large bowel movements, and the cycle continues...a stool softener allows the stool to be a normal consistency, in turn allowing the colon and anus to return to normal size. Be patient this takes time to achieve, but it worked for us and we have not had any problems at all since we used the softener, I gave it to her every morning for 6 mos. and weaned her off of it for about a month. Good Luck and I am here if you have any questions at all...I totally understand and support from friends and family are really important!! Is she withholding bowel movements? Mine did because she could not take the pain anymore...in my experience if it gets to this point diet alone will not fix the problem. I suspected milk was the culprit, but I question that now...I did not giver her milk for a year, now she drinks it and is fine...so I don't know if that was the cause or not.
We have a 5 year old who started seeing a pediatric GI last year because he had blood inside his stools. He had bouts of constipation too despite being active and having a great intake of water. After a couple of visits to our pedi., we got a referral to a pedi. GI doctor who put him on Myralax which he has been on since but is in the process of weaning off. It was by prescription at first and then became over the counter which, of course, means it costs more. Our son ended up having a colonoscopy (not a pleasant process for a 4 year old) and that helped get a proper diagnosis. We live in Winchester but saw Dr. Russell with Mass. General (we saw him at a branch office in Salem I believe - maybe North Shore Hospital). He is a very soft spoken, slow paced doctor in his 50's I'd guess who has a wait and see attitude for the most part. Our son liked him. Hope this helps.
My son had the same issue. We cut back his milk intake and upped his juice intake. Miralax does work as well, but I am always weary of medications so we just went with the change in diet and it seemed to work. Another thing we noticed with my son was that he was purposely holding it in. Perhaps your daughter is doing the same. If this is the case, just some conversation about the issue might help as it did with my son.
Hi~My daughter seems to have trouble whenever she eats a lot of dairy...so I try to keep it at a minimum and offer lots of fresh fruits and veggies. Dried fruits can be helpful too, especially prunes and raisins. Try to use natural sources of fiber and oils (mineral oil is a dirivative of petroleum) because I've read that the synthetic bowel stimulators can cause major imbalances, thus the cycle continues. Whole grains, plenty of water and exercise should do the trick. Good luck!
I am sure it is dairy that is causing this and switching to goat's milk is the best thing to do and the most natural way to fix the problem. It is closet to mother's milk and very digestible. If someone writes to me, I can give you a farm in your area that sells it. OR you can buy it from Amazon in the powdered form which taste pretty good to. It is cheapest there. Some groceries carry it as well. I know our Market Basket does.
We struggled with this with my oldest daughter, but on a far more severe scale. We found that one of the things that helped her, and this was a shock to me at the time, was chiropractic treatments!
If it persists, I recommend you see your family doctor as we didn't realize how severe the problem was with our daughter until she was extrememly sick.
Good luck, and I hope your daughter is feeling better soon!
You got alot of great responses. I agree iwth Sarah D's response. My dd has had constipation problems since about 10 months old she is know almost 2 1/2 years old. She is on glycolax everyday. I have tried to take her off it but if i do she has trouble going again and it is heartbreaking. My pedi prescribed the glycolax and says the reason this is happening is due to her diet. I have tried giving her all the things everyone reccomened and it doesnt work. I have figured out that I belive she has a problem with dairy. I only give her between 8-12 oz 2% milk daily and she is fine. If i give her more or whole milk she has a hard time going.
My son is almost three and went through the same thing around 2. We found that prunes, either in juice or puree form, really helped (1 cup per day). There were a couple times, though, that we had to use glycerin suppositories, because he went three days without a bowel movement. Pear and apple juice (or sauce) also helped.
One more thing: exercise. We find that when he gets a lot of exercise, it is easier for him to go. Jumping up and down, running and climbing seem to work the best.
My son suffered and still does from the very same thing..it started at 5 months old..our pediatrician perscribed mirolax(which is now an over the counter medicine)..it does work and we used it on an as neeeded basis along with increasing the fibers etc in his daily intake...
over the past many months since he was potty trained we havent seen this constipation problem occur..id recommend getting some mirolax and adding it just a teaspoon to his juice each day.....you may need to use it for 6 months to a year but according to doctors it isnt dependesnt and kids systems will eventually outgrow this problem and they wont need this med forever...my son use d it for 3 years and we still keep it on hand..
Have you had a doctor look into it. there may be some physical obstruction that an ultrasound could confirm or rule out. I would do that right away because sometimes these sypmtoms are a dign of something important
Hi S., both my daughters have had trouble with constipation. A doctor recommended giving them MiraLax. It is a very gentle over the counter laxative. I frowned at giving it to them, but if given in the recommended dose, it does work. You mix it into juice once a day. Talk to your pedeatrician and see if this may be an option.............good luck!
Have you tried any of the "P" fruit juices....especially with the nectar if your daughter doesn't have a problem with textures. If you look closely they have pear nectar juice, peach nectar juice, and of course the prune juice (but try and find it with the pulp). A glass a day (maybe mixed with water....can be thick) should help keep her regular enough and keep her stool soft enough for her to pass. Try and avoid white bread, bananas, and white rice too....these can be very constipating. And also FYI....apple juice and fiber supplements can have either effect....constipation or diarrhea....so be aware...especially fiber....it can bind like no tomorrow you have to drink tons of fluids with it (have you ever mixed metamucil with a fliud and let it sit for a couple minutes...it ends up like sludge so think about what it might do in the intestine without enough water :). Hope this helps.
We had the same problem witb our daughter around that age too. The pediatrician presribed some mild laxative, but after giving it to her for a couple weeks, we started giving her some prune juice which worked great! She's four now and still gets constipation every now and then, but the prune juice always works.
Have you tried prunes? (I find them disgusting personally, but my daughter loves them & it helps her tremendously). Since her constipation relapses even when she is eating foods that should help her go I would highly suggest taking her to see her pedeatrician. He/She may want your daughter to visit with a GI specialist, or he might prescribe a special type of jelly for children that can be spread onto bread (it tastes good AND makes them go!).
The pedeatrician could want a GI specialist to investigate the constipation if simple interventions do not work. Sometimes constipation is caused by dietary concerns such as unhealthy eating, a temporary intollerance to either milk protein or wheat gluten. Sometimes they will do an allergy test or examine one of her stool samples. Often the first step is to meet with a dietician who can see what your child is eating. If they determine the diet is healthy and adequate then they would start to look into other alternatives.
MOST of the time there are simple explanations to the constipation but it is always good to get examined by a medical professional if the problem is recurring.
Both of my daughters have Gastric problems, so we see a GI specialist often.
We went through the very same problem with my son. It started before he began potty training last year (he was three) and just finally cleared up about one month ago. My pediatrician kept saying to give him more fiber and fruit juices and that never worked. So on the advice of many friends who had the same experience, I gave him Miralax, which you can purchase over the counter. It regulated him and kept the bowel movements softer so they were easier for him to expel. As he became more regular and stopped trying to hold his bowel movements in (which is very common when they start potty training), I backed off the Miralax and now don't even have to give it to him anymore. Again, I used this on the advice of friends, not our doctor. Good Luck!
Flax Seed Oil which can be bought in the grocery store is a wonderful tool to use to help keep your daughter regular. My son 22 months drinks smoothies every day which consist of about a 1/4 cup of yogurt 1/2 a banana about a tablespoon of the Flax Seed Oil and a few drops of honey. Also Flax Seeds can be sprinkled onto regular foods that she eats which help to strengthen the colon and promotes regular bowel movements. Also you can get the dried prunes and feed her 1-2 a day the morning is best. Finally we had these issues for awhile before working all these things out make sure you have some toddler liquid suppositories on hand if you know she needs to use the bathroom but cannot you can give her one of those and in about a half an hour she will go. We only used the suppositories until our son got regulated using the prunes, flax seed oil and flax seeds. Make sure to offer her lots of water because giving her extra Fiber could actually backfire if she is not hydrated enough and the fiber could actually make her become constipated. Please feel free to email me if you have any other questions ____@____.com
Sorry to hear about your daughter's upset tummy. A few things come to mind: have you tried gentle tummy massage with a little warm oil? Done lightly, every day (when she isn't in pain, so its enjoyable), in clockwise circles around her belly can help the intestines move by promoting peristaltic action. My niece had a similar problem when she was about 2-2 1/2, and nothing was really helping consistently, as you describe. Eventually we took her to see a doctor of Tibetan Medicine in Northampton, who gave her some powdered herbs that we mixed with warm water and gave her for a few weeks. She didn't mind taking them, and after they were gone, her constipation had stopped entirely and has not come back.
Good luck, I hope it works out!
what you're going through is the worst--we've been there! Ask your pediatrician for Miralax--it is wonderful! They usually prescribe it if you've tried on the diet end and that's not enough. Good luck!
Our 4YO son struggled with constipation from the time he was a baby (and our 14MO daughter has issues too). We religiously use Miralax (now available OTC). DEFINITELY speak with your pediatrician first, but I can't imagine life without this! Best of luck - M.
My daughter had the same problem. We concentrated on her diet from 1 yr old-2 1/2. And if we didn't get the fiber and/or liquids just right we were back at square one with her struggling. Then along came potty training which constipated her more. I finally told her doctor that nothing was working and we needed to treat it medically. He said that we needed to get her used to normal soft bowel movements and have her adjust to that sensation. It was a while ago, so I can't remember what he prescribed her, but it was like benefiber. You mixed it with water (or clear liquid) and it would make her go. Once it started working, I cut the dosage down gradually until she didn't need it anymore. From start to finish the process took maybe two months. That was two years ago. She's been fine since. Go and talk to her doctor. She shouldn't have to suffer like that. I hope this was helpful.
We've had similar issues with my 3 1/2 year old son. What seems to work for us is alteration of diet and adding Benefiber to his morning milk. In addition to that, we have also begun to mix Flax Seed Meal in to many of our dishes. The entire family is more regular and our son has eliminated almost all of his struggles.
You will find that consitency is extremely important. You will need to find a solution that works and not break from that. You can run into serious trouble when constipation goes untreated or treated intermitantly. Stay on top of it and continue to suppliment with fiber and flax (or other natural oils) even when it seems like your daughter is doing better.
Hi S. have you tried eliminating Dairy products?
we had this problem with my son for years and had to get rid of milk. also every day I put a tablespoon of mineral oil in a glass of juice.... It did get better when he was around 5 or 6. Hope this helps!!!
I had the same problem with my 4 year old little girl. Like you had said, trouble sleeping and complaining of a stomach ache. I thought she was trying to get attention. But finally after a week of no sleep. I called her physican and discussed it with her. We had already tried prune juice and grapes. But that didn't work. So, she suggested Mirlax, a product that you can purchase at a drug store. That same day her stomach ache was gone and we haven't had any trouble since. You put it right in their juice. I would discuss it first with your physican, but it worked great for us. Good luck!!!
A little about me:
I am 29 year-lad mom of 3 kids, 6,4, and 2. My husband and I work full-time and have been marriend for 7 years. Today is my 2 year olds birthday, how time flies!!!!!!!!
Just wondering if you've had her tested for allergies? Sometimes a food allergy will prompt the upset stomach. Check with your doctor. There are so many allergies today because of the processed food we eat, allergies seem to be more prevalent in today's society. Milk, wheat, nuts are big causes. Try to eliminate these foods and see how you child does.
My child suffered from this and still does on occation...I keep her away from white foods... White foods tend to be made of flour and water, which make a paste and bind in our colons.. I also give her more water and fruit.. This should help regulate her.. My daughter is now ten, she struggled with this since birth.. The no white foods realy does work!!! Good luck!!
I was going back and forth with my 2 1/2 year old son for a while with this. I just makes sure he has OJ everyday. Totally loosened him up. It's the only thing I'll give him in a "big boy" cup (cause it doesn't stain as bad) and he loves it cause it's not in a sippy cup. If he doesn't have any for a day or two -he backs up again. Good luck!
Oh- and I can't believe you asked about constipation and got a lecture about daycare. (response toward the middle of the page) People like that need to mind their own business.