I'm new here... 4.5 year old son with Severe Constipation?

Hi there.

I was just wondering if anyone could give me any advice.

My 4 and a half year old son has been suffering with what the pedestrian said was severe constipation.

My son really struggled with communication when he was younger and only mastered weeing at the age of 3 and a half but we still really struggle with pooing. We eventually got a pedestrian appointment this May and he was prescribed Movicol. It was great at first as the quantity he was passing increased but it was just making it so wet and it started going through his clothes, it became impossible to get out his pants. Also we were still having the accidents numerous times a day. I've started giving him the Movicol again today as the quantity has seemed to of dipped.

It doesn't seem to matter how many times a day I tell him to tell me if he gets the urge or if he's had an accident to tell me but he just doesn't. He gets really upset if I make him sit on the toilet for long periods of time but even then he wont go. He has told me a few times recently that he doesn't know how to poo and that makes him upset and its hard for him to understand. Normally within a half an hour of putting his pants on (or even less than that) he's soiled them.

I feel like I'm at the end of my tether with him as nothing seems to be working and I feel like I'm failing as a mother as everyone is telling me he shouldn't be doing it but he still is and nothing is working. I feel that when I tell people about it they just judge me as a lazy mum or he's a stupid child because he doesn't understand. He starts school in a few days and I just feel so sorry for the teachers having to sort him out.

I'm sorry for such a long post, Any help or advice would be much appreciated!

5 Replies

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  • Hello Stace1990.

    A couple of weeks ago, someone posted a link in reply to someone else's post about constipation that I thought was fantastic - so good in fact that I referred our GP to it just this morning. I can honestly tell you that I wish I had seen this 9 years ago!

    vimeo.com/179497116 (sorry I don't know how to make this a link but copy and paste should work 😬)

    Re the soiling, my daughter is nearly twelve and we have had a shocker year so far. Most of the time she is in deep denial about the problem but one thing that she has articulated very clearly is with the soiling (which we now understand to be overflow) there is no physical sensation of it happening. The first she knows of it is either when she goes to do a wee and sees her knickers, or when her dad or I alert her to it - smell!

    When you feel at the end of your tether, take some time out, have a good read around this forum. You will soon find you are not alone and we are all here wanting to help and protect our children - making us fine parents indeed!

    Stay strong, I wish you and you wee boy, good health and happiness.

    The Laundrymaid

  • Hi, first of all, what your son is going through is absolutely no reflection on you as a Mum. It is a medical issue and should be seen as such by yourself and others that care for him including school staff. My son was toilet trained about 2.5 years ago and he picked up very quickly about going to do wees on the toilet but we've had very little success with poos and have been on Movicol for most of this time.

    I absolutely second watching the video posted. It made so much more sense than anything I'd been told before. And hopefully you will find it reassuring about what your son is going through and how you are dealing with it.

    Re: school, my son has just gone into his second year and it is only this summer he was diagnosed with severe constipation by a paediatrician. He went through his first year and had several accidents at school but they dealt with it brilliantly. They would change him if necessary or sometimes not notice and he would be changed once he got home. I did feel guilty about them having to do this but being a teacher myself, it really is all part of the job!

    As the video clip suggests, make up the Movicol to the exact measurements prescribed and alter dosage by the teaspoon. My son can be reluctant about sitting on the loo for long periods of time but I bribe him with anything! Chocolate treats, tablet time etc. Keep up with the Movicol until you have long periods of time where he initiates toilet visits and doesn't have any soiling. There aren't any side effects and it doesn't get absorbed into the bloodstream so no impact for long term usage.

    You are not alone. It is a common problem. Good luck 👍🏻

  • Blowing bubbles or tissue paper into the air while sitting on the loo helps relax the bottom and can help with the tension and making passing easier. Movical is a long time medicine so not a quick rescue I'm afraid. I'm not sure my son will ever stop taking it to be honest.

    When constipated for a long time the colon and bowls become stretched and the bottom loses sensation in the nerve endings and it's more than likely he has no sensation there but this will repair with time. He's likely soiling after sitting as it passes down and once he's off the loo it leeks out and he can't feel it. Also soiling can happen if soften poo leaks around harder back up poo which is trapped. Have you been given a disimpaction plan from the doctor as it might be worth getting cleared out completely and starting the maintainance ends dosage after that as he'll be clear. Watch the video on you tube it explains a lot.

    This isn't anything you've done or are doing it happens to do many children and adults.

    Start by sitting him for small amounts of time more often during the day and 20mins after meals as this stimulates the bowls. Keep up the fluids as it helps the movical to work.

    Best wishes

  • Hi Stace1990,

    Firstly let me say that you are not a loan, I thought I was the only person going through this until I came across the ERIC website and this foruem. I had begun to feel like I was failing my son and that maybe Ive not given him the right diet etc, but after reading all the info on ERIC and talking with others on here I now know it is not an uncommon disorder just one not many people talk about.

    I strongly suggest watching all the videos people comment for you to watch, my son is 4 and he has been on movicol since 7mths, I was told to just put it in his drink! which is not how you make it up so watching the videos gave me guidance on how to use it correctly and that in itself made a difference!

    My son will not sit on the toilet for a poo! he will do it in his pants and keep it there, so bazaar as he wee's standing up!

    When using a lot of movicol for disimpactation I use pull ups if we go out just to make it less of an issue and stopping him from having a spoilt day, and not once has my son wee'd in them! (no regression, and also he is dry a nightime)

    Our children are not lazy, we are not bad parents who cant be bothered to toilet train our children, our children have idlepathic (unexplained) disorder.

    Good luck and take each day as it comes, don't forget to speak to his teacher and share your worries and concerns.

    Claire xx

  • Speak to his teacher and TA and direct them to the ERIC website if they have concerns too as there is so much info on there. Fill in an intimate care plan with his teachers with what you expect them to do for him not just if he has an accident but reminders to go to the loo or timed sits after lunch which may help. His food habits will change when he starts school due to lunch times possibly being different or different foods than he's used to at home or preschool so there may be a change in his toilet habits while he adjust. Make sure he has a change bag for school lots of pants, wipes and spare trousers.

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