Poop on getting the poop out.

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One mother asked the PSP Group:  Hi All, My sixteen month old is having a hard time pushing out his BMs. It has been an ongoing issue. He used to take iron supplements and I thought that once we stopped his BMs would improve but that is not the case.  Every time he poops he strains and pushes very hard. Many times he cries as he pushes it out. Sometimes the BM itself is very hard, and others it is not but he still cries.

He eats a ton of fruit and I put flaxseed oil in his oatmeal or pancakes every morning. He eats high fiber bread and smoothies many days. He doesn't drink as much as I would like him to, but he always has very wet diapers. I don't want this to become an escalating problem so that he is afraid to go. He goes once or twice a day now with pain and tears. Does anyone have any advice?


Here is some of the advice:

- Have you tried castor oil? Nordic Naturals makes a berry keen castor oil that I give to my 1 year old as well as flax.

- The one thing that instantly made a difference was switching from organic whole milk to soy milk. My ped kept on telling me that soy was also very constipating, but I figured I'd give it a try since nothing else was working.  It was almost an instant fix.  My son's BMs are now very soft, he doesn't have a hard time pushing, he goes every day instead of holding it in for days.

- After he started having blood in his stools because he developed a fissure from all the straining, I freaked out and took him to a GI specialist. What she said is that some children, after having a few painful poops, start holding back their bms, which makes the problem worse, because the stool dries out and becomes hard. She prescribed something called Miralax. This a stool softener which causes the bowel to retain fluid, thus making it soft and easy to pass. You mix it with juice or water; it is tasteless. It is taken every day.

- I think that toddlers actually "learn" how to poop "real food" poops around your son's age.  My daughter (now 27 mos) went through a similar time and it eventually resolved itself without our doing anything drastic. I would "help" her with a little gentle massage around her anus with my finger with vaseline. I only had to do this a few times.

- My daughter had this problem when she was his age and using a probotic has made all the difference. No problems now. Also drinking milk helps if your son isn't allergic.There are Probiotic (acidophilus, bifidophilus, etc)  brands made specifically for kids and you can buy them at health food stores : Back to the Land or the Coop if you are a member.

- Have you tried prune juice, apple juice, yoghurt (whole milk) and dried apricots?  The latter give my son runny stools so they might be effective for your toddler.  I'd recommend organic, without sulphur from the co-op or back to the land.

 - Peaches in heavy sryup  (not sure why, but it helps) -Water drinking contests (with a straw-- CW's idea) -There are chocolate chip and oatmeal cookie recipes that use prunes instead of all the sugar (they are pretty dang good too!)

- Putting them on the potty right after eating helps too. Read a book.

- Squatting opens things up more so it's easier to poop, so you might have him squat on the potty or some other ingenious method of pooping.

- My son suffered from the same exact symptoms. I used the flaxseed oil as well. The dr. recommended Metamuscil cookies/crackers that they sell in drug stores. These really helped the situation. Also, now that he is potty trained he is having more frequent bm's even without the help of the Metamuscil. I think he is getting more comfortable and relaxed on the toilet. Hope this helps.

- My daughter has a similar problem. We give her prune juice everyday, and all of the other high fiber things that you mentioned.

- Our pediatrician suggested cutting her back to 16 ounces of milk a day so we're seeing if that helps. I have heard from some other parents that this was something that their kids just outgrew at around 2 so I'm hoping that helps too. I have been warned about giving her too much fiber, apparently it can have a reverse effect on little ones and make poop really hard so maybe try cutting back a little on the bran-like grains for a day or two and see how that helps.

-  I would definitely get in touch with pedi about this.  Don't wait.  He could develop hemorrhoids.

- When my daughter was 2 and had similar problems, we tried prune juice -- mixing it into her yogurt or other fruit juices she was drinking. It did seem to soften the BMs.

- I would recommend that he see a pediatric gastroenterologist just to check for any structural abnormalities.  My daughter had some similar issues which she outgrew, but they were due to an "angle displacement of the rectum."  No big deal (and at 3 she's perfectly fine – it indeed self corrected), but it was at least an explanation.

 - Fluids are great. If he doesn't really like water how about juice or fruit that is watery like watermelon, grapefruit, grapes,oranges, etc...

-  I wonder if your ped could recommend a stool softener as a temporary measure?  There are some out there that I'm sure are gentle enough for little ones.  I agree, once it becomes a "thing" it could get very complicated.  Maybe this might be enough to just get things going, so to speak.

- Two things work really well and are really good for baby. start with flax seed oil, 1/4 tspn, and titrate up from here if needed. Also magnesium caps, 1/4 the dose of a standard size capsule. just take out the powder and add to yogurt or anything.  Another thing to consider is that he might get constipated with dairy - this is rather common. you may want to keep him away from this for a while. 2 September 2006

- As an herbalist and a mother of a kid that was severely constipated since birth, i have to say that i find senna to be a bad idea. it's an irritant to the large intestine and will cause peristalsis. but it also creates a dependence. this is what really worked for us:
1) flax seed oil, 1/4-1/2 tspn daily
2) magnesium (open up a standard dose capsule and spill a 1/4 of the powder into a cup. mix with a little water and serve. alternately you can put it in yogurt, etc) magnesium is laxative and quite healthy for baby)
3) broccoli
4) don't forget water. i've always found the prune juice thing to be totally useless. and this regimen can be done for as long as necessary

- Try a little organic flax seed oil (1/2 teaspoon?) w/ yogurt till it clears and beyond. it's just good for the system... should work wonders. 

- We do blueberries as party of most breakfasts and I think that helps!

- Peaches and pears work for us most of the time.

- Grains like quinoa and chia may constipate because they aren't digested as well. Pouches for stage 4 often have a grain like this!  

- Water during meals. Pears and prunes