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9 year old daughter and constipation
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9 year old daughter and constipation

You guys have helped me so much with questions about my husband, so I wanted to run this past all of you. My husband has crohns amd all sorts of intestinal problems, well my 9 year old daughter has been having constipation problems for several years now. She has had the same pediatrician since she was 1, and I love him to death! He is an older man and very knowlegable, so I hate to not trust him but he has her on milk of magnesia and a stool softner, every night and he said from looking at an xrau he took of her tummy, she is so backed up, that she will need to keep taking these things through the school year! He has put her on this before but the minute she stops, she backs up again. It is very hard for her to go(when she can even go at all). I told him about my husband having crohns. My daughter only gets pain in her side , when she is very backed up, then she can hardly walk,because it hurts so bad. Does any of this sound like she needs a gastro doc? Or is her pediatrician right on his treatment? Tahnks for any advice...........Tanya
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It seems to me like your daughter should be seen by a pediatric gastroenterologist. If the Milk of Magnesia and stool softeners only provide temporary relief and she's never able to return to normal on her own, something's not right. Maybe some dietary and lifestyle changes would be all she'd need, but it seems like her IBS (for lack of another term) should be evaluated by a specialist.
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I agree 100% with Wilson! Your daughter needs to be seen by a good pediatric gastro-enterologist. This is important, in case she has some medical condition that needs to be treated.

Here are some more things you might want to consider, too:

1)Acidophilus & Bifidus are beneficial (edible) bacteria called "pro-biotics" that can help to normalize the large intestine (bowel), when antibiotics or other medications have destroyed the good bulk-producing bacteria. Health food stores sell these. Keep refrigerated. Take with water, between meals.

2)Dehydration can cause or worsen constipation. Does your daughter drink enough good quality water? Certain medical conditions require that patients shouldn't drink too much water (glaucoma, diabetics taking certain anti-diuretic hormones--just learned about this today from another forum--, etc.), but, many children are chronically dehydrated. Soda pop is dehydrating. Caffeine (found in colas) is dehydrating.

3)If your daughter's diet doesn't include enough "roughage" (can be from many different sources, but VEGETABLES are among the best sources, including pectin in carrots, etc.) then, the colon (gut/large intestine/bowel) can get sluggish.

Does your daughter eat a lot of "denatured" foods, like WHITE bread, WHITE crackers, WHITE rice, WHITE pastas (as opposed to WHOLE GRAIN pastas) etc.? These WHITE grain products don't have any fiber (roughage) at all, and this lack of fiber, makes them VERY CONSTIPATING.

What kind of food and beverages does your daughter eat? Start keeping a food diary, so that you can see which foods agree or don't agree with her. This can be tedious, but is often very helpful.

A good holistic nutritionist can be very helpful to you, once you get a diagnosis. If you can't get a diagnosis other than irritable bowel syndrome, a holistic nutritionist can help your daughter to greatly improve her diet, in ways that you and I might not think of (delicious & nutritious).

4)Perhaps your daughter has some food allergies &/or food sensitivities. Some of these can cause constipation. An allergist specialist doc can help with figuring this out.

a)Cow's milk can cause diarrhea or constipation. Does your daughter drink a lot of cow's milk products (can include cheese on pizza, etc.)?

b)Gluten sensitivity, like Celiac Disease, can cause diarrhea or constipation. Gluten is found in wheat (breads, crackers, etc.), rye, oats, barley, buckwheat. Spelt & kamut are ancient types of wheat, and these contain gluten. (Pizza crusts have gluten in them, when they are made from wheat.)

Going on a gluten-free diet can sometimes be tremendously helpful for mysterious cases. Avoid glutenous foods for about a month, to see if this helps. Grains that are gluten-free include brown rice & corn. But, many are allergic to corn, so avoid corn temporarily.

Health food stores sell brown rice cereals, brown rice pastas (delicious!), and plain organic brown rices.

Does your daughter eat a lot of "glutenous" foods? (&/or corn?)

5)Does your daughter get enough exercise? Being sedentary can cause or worsen constipation.

6)Once you have a diagnosis, ask the doctor if abdominal massage would be OK. This (if safe & if gently done) can stimulate a bowel movement.

7)Drinking a cup of warm water can stimulate the gastro-colic reflux, causing a bowel movement.

8)Some children don't always go to the bathroom when the urge hits. When they "hold it in", it can make them more constipated. If a child is under stress, this sometimes can be a factor, with constipation.

What your doctor has done, is to just treat your daughter's SYMPTOMS, but he hasn't done the tough "Sherlock Holmes" medical detective work, to find out what is actually CAUSING her constipation. There may be SEVERAL CAUSES of her constipation.

Once you know the CAUSES, you can try to get rid of the causes, or lessen the causes, or gently treat them.

Your daughter is lucky to have you as her mother, and I believe that because of your caring and questioning, she will get better.

I wish you and your daughter the best! Find a GOOD pediatric gastro-enterologist, and keep asking questions. :-)

Sincerely, Concerned lady
http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com
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I agree with Concerned lady's comments- totally.  
My son and I just saw the pediatrician yesterday for the EXACT problem.  My son has been suffering with this problem for years.. and as in your case, all docs have been 'treating' the symptoms..not the cause. This new ped. said that if the laxative doesnot work, then we will see a ped. gastroentologist .  This is a necessary step.
My son started showing signs of this at 9 months old - he is now 10 years. We have tried EVERYTHING...fiber supplements, fiber cereals, senakot (child's laxative - very good), milk of magnesia, etc.etc.  But as soon as he stopped taking the medicines - he's backed up and cranky! Even when we increase his fiber intake with food -- it's not enough.
Our pediatrician said that some kids are like this. Nothing to worry about. But my son's behavior turns sour with his abdominal pain.
I, too, have this problem (and Irritable Bowel Syndrome). So I do know what the kids are going through - it can be very painful and definitely annoying to feel full and sluggish constantly. But I can regulate my constipation with a high fiber cereal (Fiber One has 57% fiber).
For almost 2 years my son was 'symptom free'.  His stomach aches dissipated, his appetite increased, had normal BMs everyday.  The reason?  *OPTIMIZE high fiber drink*. We love this stuff.  He would drink it every morning and it kept him regulated - he would occasionally have gas -- but it's worth it.  
Problem is, I can no longer find it in our stores.  The Optimize Website lists stores that still carry it -- but I can not locate them here in Ohio.  It has been nearly 2 months since he's had this drink - and now - he's in pain, cranky and he's completely backed up from top to bottom.    
So, yes...take your daughter to the pediatric gastro. and find optimize. It comes in many different flavors that my son loved... it is somewhat expensive -- but your daughter won't need a stool softener or Milk Of Magnesia, etc.  

I truly hope you finally get some answers - and in a week, if I find out more from our ped. gastroentologist - I will let you know.

God Bless!!
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WOW, your post was awesome and I thank you very much. Her doc has said that she will probably always have this problem now, because her intestines are so stretched out. He told me he believed it was because so many kids hold it and don't go when they need to, and they get backed up. This could very well be true and I hate to not believe him because like I said, I love him and has been wonderful for 9 years! I trust him and I would like to believe that if he thought there was something wrong, he would know BUT, I can't get over the fact that it doesn't seem normal for her to have to be on meds, to have a BM.I have 4 kids and the other 3 never went throught his. My 11 year old son, got backed up once and had to be put on the milk of magnesia, but only for a couple of months and then he has been fine ever since.My daughter has no other symptoms or pain, except when she gets backed up for awhile, then her stomach hurts very bad, where she can't even walk. She eats good, gains weight fine, very active, she is my tomboy. She is also my water drinker, she loves water and drinks it alot, even at school. I send a big water bottle with her and she even finshes it and fills it up again. She also loves milk though too, but only has one glass a day, at dinner.WE eat veggies every night with dinner and she loves green beans. She never has stomach pain after eating and like I said, only feels pain when she is extremely backed up.My husband is going to the Mayo clinic in Arizona on MOnday and my daughters pediatrician knows the gastro doc back there and said he comes out here and lectures alot and he has learned alot from him, so I might bring it up to that gastro doc and see what he thinks.If not, when we get back, I might ask her doc for a referal to a gastro doc for her. I thank you for all of your advice, I think I will print your message, so I will have it all handy. Thanks again..........Tanya
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Well, I have never meet anyone else with a young child that gets constipated all the time like my daughter. My daughter was on senekot to. Her pediatrician told me that it might always be like this for her because now her intestines are so stretched out, they will never go back. Poor kid, she is so young to be having these problems. I wish you luck with your son and yes, please do pass on any information you find out, that would be great!! Thank you very much..........Tanya
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Dear ttcoffin and luvngmom,

You both are great parents! :-)

I must tell you both that when I was a child, I too was severely constipated. It was only as a young adult, that I finally listened to a wonderful person in a health food store who educated me as to the use of ACIDOPHILUS/BIFIDUS "PROBIOTICS", and the use of digestive enzymes! The result, finally, was:

No more constipation!

I'm going to post some Gastric Reflux tips, in the next message. These "tips" are for more than just reflux. These tips usually will cure constipation.

BUT...I still think any child who has severe constipation needs to see a very good pediatric GI (Gastro-intestinal doc), for testing, to see if something serious is going on, that you and I haven't thought of. MAKE THE APPOINTMENT, for your peace of mind, and for your daughter's sake.

I agree with you both! It is not normal for a child to need laxatives, etc. in order to have a bowel movement! Any doctor who thinks this is normal, is in massive "denial".

Ttcoffin, I also don't agree with the doc who said that your daughter has to suffer with this, all her life. NOT IF YOU DO SOMETHING NOW, to find out what's causing her problems. Once you have causes, you can get rid of the causes, or lessen the causes, or gently treat the causes.

Good medicine looks for causes.

However, even if you can't find the real causes, right away, try all the "gastric reflux tips", and these may help you figure out some of your daughter's causes.

For example, let's say you try giving your daughter a milk-free, gluten-free diet, for a month, and you also give her ACIDOPHILUS/BIFIDUS probiotics, for a month. Let's say that she improves dramatically.

Well, then you will know that your daughter needs to avoid milk products, avoid gluten, and she needed to re-populate her large intestine (bowel/colon) with the good bacteria!

This method of trial & error (experimenting) is called "empirical" medicine, and is used a lot by doctors, except usually they experiment with medicines. I prefer to use foods, nutritional supplements, and life-style changes, first, if safe, to avoid bad side effects of most medications.

Still, I believe it's important for a very constipated child to be seen by an excellent, kind, pediatric GI doc, just in case...

Start keeping a detailed food diary, so that when you go to the pediatric GI doc, you can share what you discover about which foods agree or don't agree with your daughter. This can also show what areas of her diet need improvements.

I also highly recommend looking for a "holistic nutritionist". They are wonderful, and can help you to greatly improve your daughter's diet, in a way that is safe for her, yet delicious & nutritious.

Good luck, and keep us posted. And, to both moms: Keep asking questions! Demand better medical care for your children. They deserve it. Accept nothing less than great improvement in your children's conditions. (Also, see next message, below.)

Sincerely, Concerned lady
http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com
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First, I want to thank the nice lady on this board, who, months ago(forgot her name), taught me about "cutting & pasting" info.

The "tips" below, can help with much more than just reflux. These tips can help with ulcers, constipation, diarrhea, etc.

No matter what, please see a good DOCTOR, in case something else serious is going on, that these tips don't address!

*********************************************

Some GASTRIC REFLUX TIPS (without acid blockers):

Please check with your doctor, first, before trying these tips to be sure they are safe, in your particular situation.

GER=Gastro-Esophageal Reflux. (Gastro=stomach. Esophagus=food tube.)

LPR= Laryngeal-Pharyngeal Reflux. (Larynx=voice box, containing the 2 vocal cords. Pharynx=throat, above the larynx. The larynx is above the trachea/windpipe.)

Reflux=acidic or alkaline stomach material that backs up into the esophagus (food tube), causing any of these problems (at least): VCD/Vocal Cord Dysfunction/Laryngospasm attacks, cough, voice problems, asthma, globus (feeling of lump in throat), constant need to clear throat, much extra throat mucus, worsening of sinus condition, sore throat, laryngitis, voice problems, pre-cancerous conditions of throat &/or esophagus, etc.

SOME GER/LPR CONTROL THINGS WE DO, that we learned from the excellent book: STOMACH AILMENTS AND DIGESTIVE DISTURBANCES, by Michael T. Murray, N.D. See page 9, References, in my website: http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com   and, also see GER/LPR info on page 5, and on LINKS page.

PLEASE READ THIS GREAT BOOK. It may possibly be bought on-line, from Michael T. Murray
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Childrens bowel habits always seem to be written off as something that can easily be cured with OTC treatments (m.o.m., enemas, other stool softners, etc.).  My advice...ask or research the possibility of a little talked about syndrome called HIRSCHSPRUGS DISEASE.  The ignorance of this disease among non-specialists almost killed my newborn son (he's 9 now).  Although this disease is usually diagnosed before a child turns 1, a small effected section of the bowel could present like just constant difficulty having a bowel movements and be written off or ignored.

Hirschsprungs Disease is the absence of Ganglion cells (nerve endings) at the lower end of the colon.  Children get "stopped up" because once the stool hits the affected area there are no nerve endings to tell the bowel to "move". Therefore it just stays there.  This causes the area the stool is in to just keep ballooning and stretching out until there is so much pain it's unbearable.  There is a simple test to see if there possibility of this syndrome.  A barium enema.  I think a great website on this and other motility disorders is www.theguardiansociety.com it's INCREDIBLE!

In addition, my son also has high pressures in his anal sphincter.  Another thing you might consider.  His symptoms were SO similar to everything you were describing. Ask your daughter if she ever has the FEELING like she has to have a bowel movement and if it's REALLY hard to push it out.  This could be an indication of the absence of the nerve endings.

I hope this helps and gives you some material to research to bring up to your pediatric GI doc when you see him/her.  Good luck! :)
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Thank you concerned lady for your very informative post, I wrote alot of things down. I will let you know if any of it helps.

Thanks to you humor me, your sons symptoms sound alot like things my daughter has told me! What did they do for your son? What kind of treatment? Iam going to go to that website you gave me and see what it says and I want to make an appointment with her pediatrician, to see if he will refer her to a GI doc. Thanks again to both of you..........Tanya
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My pleasure to help ttcoffin!  Not too many people are aware of this disease and alot of doctors pretty much have just "heard" of it.  It's frustrating!!  But BE PERSISTENT!  It was my persistance that saved my sons life...

When he was 9 days old he almost died from NON diagnosis of Hirschsprungs.  Thank goodness it was caught in time!  He was immediately rushed in emergency surgery for a biopsy of the colon and was given a colostomy which he wore for 8 months.  Since then he has gone through countless surgeries including a Duhamul Pullthrough and closure of the colostomy.

Nowadays, they don't tend to do the colostomy and do a different procedure called a Suave Pullthrough. It's much more effective.  My son still has some problems but, again, his rectal sphincter has significant high pressures.

I have been following this disease closely for 9 years now.  If you have any specific questions please let me know!!

Hope everything turns out well!  Keep me updated! :)
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I just visited the Guardian society's homepage and realized that the link to them is: http://www.fortunecity.com/millenium/ratty/136/gaurdianreal.htm

I'm sure you've already found it...but just in case! :)

Take Care!!!
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Thank you, ttcoffin! Keep us posted on what you find is wrong, and what you find helps!

Concerned lady
http://cantbreathesuspectvcd.com
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