I thought I would cover this subject in a post as we have experienced this first hand with our little one, and I know how frustrating this can be not only for the child but for the family too.
My Little One suffered this for Months, although it did seem like forever at the time.
It all started when he passed a poo which really hurt him and then gained a fear that every one afterwards was going to be the same which then triggered him to hold his bowels.
It would go on for so long that he would then result in not being able to go at all, (up to a week).
We used to question if it really was constipation as he would soil his underwear daily.
At the end of our tethers we seeked help from our GP who went on to refer us to a bowel specialist at the local hospital.
We attended this appointment which confirmed he was indeed constipated due to holding his bowels. The bowel had became packed and the soiling was the build up of soft poo trying to pass the blockage, he would have had no control over this leakage.
The specialist was indeed very helpful and informative we were given a very high dose of Movicol to clear out Little ones bowel and then gradually reduce the amount whilst still encouraging him to use the toilet without fear. We were then passed onto a Paediatric bowel nurse who then took over my L/Os care plan, who we could contact whenever we needed to, fortunately not long afterwards we were discharged with no further follow up appointments.
I am not going to lie it was a very timely process with a plentiful supply of Pull ups at all times.
Going out was obviously more of a battle than an enjoyment and we had to be prepared for an accident with the nature of the Movicol. It wasn’t easy at all, but have faith! they do get there in the end, it does have closure eventually.
Ways you can help your child –
- Get your child referred to a bowel specialist who will then take the desired course of action.
- Give your child a good balanced diet and plenty of fluids
- Plenty of exercise to help get the bowel moving
- Invest in a reward chart for toileting and work up to a treat at an easy attainable target, this really encourages them to use the toilet and helps ease anxiety issues of going.
- Buy a potty/toilet seat with their favourite character on, making it seem a little less formal using the toilet.
- Take a story book into the toilet to help L/O relax.
- Notify your L/O School/Nursery if applicable, they are there to help and can be prepared if your L/O has an accident and can focus on extra toileting whist in their care. This can take away a lot of stress knowing the support is there.
- Try and keep your childs feet supported if using a toilet, a childs chair or something of this height so they can comfortable rest their feet flat on, it helps the body posture to make passing their bowel easier.
What not to do –
- Do not tell your L/O off when they repeatedly soil their underwear, you might think that this is being done deliberately to avoid sitting on the toilet of fear it will hurt, this is not the case and can not be helped.
- Do not expect too much too soon. Try not to get despondent if it happens again, you may feel like pulling your hair out, (I did) but it is a lengthy process and L/O needs time and support.
I hope this has given a little reassurance that it does get resolved eventually and it is actually more common in children than you think.