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Can a toddler become dependent on Movicol?

Hello there.

I apologise if this has been asked before but can a toddler become dependent on Movicol?

My 19 month year old son has been on and off Movicol since he became incredibly constipated and started to withhold at about 14 months old.

To begin with, one dose was all he needed to have very loose poo. Then as he started to get constipated again we would increase the dose to one a day for a week then he would be fine for a few weeks and then need it again.

In the end, we managed to maintain a bowel movement a day with one Movicol in the morning, lots of fluid including watered down prune juice and increasing his fruit intake (vegetables are still a battle).

Over the last few weeks however (with no change that we are aware of to his diet or fluid intake) we've had to increase his dose to two Movicols a day.

Today he's started to withhold again. Is this normal? Has his body somehow become reliant and adapted to two Movicols and should we increase again? 3 Movicols a day seems rather a lot.

We've not had much luck with his Dr who thinks he should be off Movicol altogether and that diet and fluid intake alone should fix things (if only it was that simple).

I really feel I need to push for a referral but I don't know what options I have if the Dr is dismissive.

Thanks for reading. Xx

4 Replies

hi, firstly I have never heard of children becoming dependent on movicol, as much as I didn't like giving it daily to my daughter I think it helped us along our way, one sachet (occasionally more) per day over a few years, then she had senokot as well and now nothing except odd dose of senokot. In all the years I have found her bowels a bit of a mystery in their response to movicol and times of no accidents and then random soiling. There is no particular normal for us.

Can you find a different GP? I spoke to a few, all with various advise and understanding. My daughter was referred when she was 5, nearly 6. Maybe because I had been to GP so many times and finally I became exasperated by it all and just asked and lovely locum GP referred. The consultant was great.

I would give as much movicol as you see fit until it works.

There are good books on withholding. Ins and Outs of Poop I found very interesting. Look that up. The man who wrote it also had website that was good.

Keep going x

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Thank you so much for your reassuring reply. I've just checked out that website and it looks fantastic. That will be my reading for this morning.


No, they can't - but they end up needing support longer if you try to take them off it too early. It can take months to years.

I learned this the hard way, lowered my child's dose too early and set back about 3 months of improvements!!

It's just a powerful stool softener, not a 'laxitive' like senna which contracts the muscles. From what I understand it just flushes right through the body "like a sweetcorn" said one pharmacist! So is harmless.

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The witholding thing can be psychological or hydration too! Mine went through a phase when hers were really soft, she didn't need more, it was to do with hydration and not liking nursery toilets. Sometimes the softness can make it hard to push them out.


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