We’ve all been there.
Standing silently, hunched over in the corner, your eyebrows are sweating on you’re on the verge of a dry heave – stuck in the elevator trying to get to the office bathroom or riding on the subway with, like 8 stops to go…it’s called…explosive diarrhea.
On the flip side of the coin, you may have also had nothing to give, paced around your living until all hours of the morning with a knot in your stomach unable to produce one pebble, one bunny fart. This people, is constipation.
It’s hard enough to predict when these vulnerabilities will be exposed as an adult, but to have to become an ever-attentive, anxiety ridden parent witness or ‘predictor’ for another little human is downright dirty, literally.
I’ve served 40 years as head of my own rectal domain and offered 7 on that flip side.
I’m the guy ripping the car off the interstate at a wild shave, screeching up to a Sheetz gas station with my wife screaming as we straight-arm dangle a toddler into the store before he hoses the place with terminal velocity. We’ve set up roadside diarrhea triage at rest stops in Pennsylvania, Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia, hell, half the eastern seaboard. And let’s not begin talking about that infamous cross-country drive through the flyover states…
I’m also the dad that’s fallen asleep on a bathroom stool (no pun) at 3am, head in hands, occasionally peeking through a crack in my palm to ask if there’s been any ‘developments’. I’ve been the guy perusing the laxatives aisle at the pharmacy, ready to duck and run if anyone I knows enters the store.
THIS constipation thing is a vile, albeit less smelly evil.
It’s hard to determine, especially when your kids can’t speak yet.
As part of my ongoing partnering with KnowYourOTCS, I’m reaching out today. I’m reaching out today to talk to you about diagnosing the symptoms of poop, or lack thereof in your little one’s. (This is where the ‘it’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it’ line should go but I’m not going to torture you with shtick)
What’s about to follow could rock you to the core OR it might just come as something to bookmark for future reference.
I have this friend, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson from Seattle Mama Doc and she knows a few things about your kids as they grow larger. Check it out:
“Constipation isn’t entirely straightforward and obvious to many of us either. It’s not just hard poop but rather a combination of hard poop and poop that doesn’t come out every day. The reason a typical child gets constipated is they lack good fiber in their diet, the poop sits in their colon longer than normal, and they hold the poop in because it hurts when it comes out. The viscous cycle of lacking fiber, having tummy pain, not wanting to poop, and poop getting dehydrated in the colon perpetuates and cycles and then constipation can set in.”
- For infants, constipation is hard, packed stools that come out less often than every other day. When poop comes out the poop can look like pebbles (or logs) in the diaper and even have a tiny bit of blood on the outside from an infant straining and tearing their skin when pushing it out. First line of defense is adding a bit of juice (1-2 oz pear or prune daily) to diet. If over 6 months, increase foods with high fiber (mango, pear, prune) & decrease constipating ones (rice, cereals, banana, carrot, potato).
- In toddlers and preschoolers, constipation often occurs because of a more picky diet (normal!) that is deplete in fiber and water married with confusion or battles and pain around the time of stooling as children potty train. Some kids just start holding their poop in as they worry and/or learn to poop independently on the toilet. Constipation is defined as hard, painful or dry poops (logs/pebbles) that come less often than every 3 days. But if preschoolers are starting to hold their poop in during this time, it’s a good time to work diligently for a daily soft poop, increasing fruits/veggies/whole grains to ensure you don’t start the viscous cycle.
- For school-aged children over age 4 constipation diagnosis requires 2 or more of the following symptoms (occurring at least once a week for two months)
• At least one episode of fecal incontinence (leaking poop) per week.
• History of retentive posturing or a child holding their poop in rather than going poop when they feel they need to.
• History of painful or hard bowel movements.
• Presence of a large fecal mass in the rectum (doctor would feel this on a quick rectal exam with their gloved-finger).
• History of large-diameter stools that may obstruct the toilet.
And another quick tip from the Mama Doc:
- Constipation treatments. These medicines have differing amounts of time you should give the medicine to your child, so do not use for a longer period of time than the label says unless your doctor tells you to. Common ingredients include polyethylene glycol 3350, mineral oil, and others. ALERT: Some of these medicines may be used in young children, but be sure to talk to your doctor before use unless the label tells you the medicine is age-appropriate for your child.
I know this is a lot to wrap your head around, people. If you need some fresh air – get up and take a walk, move those limbs.
Dr. Wendy also has a great article on digestive issues, because at the end of the day folks, this is all really just a ‘belly ache’, right? Check it out HERE.
Get out there and talk to your kids, get them to communicate about their bowel movements! Whether it be by some sort of sign, facial expression, fun words or phrases or just a complete level 5 bio-disaster in the kitchen – any sign is a good sign. With good signs, we all have a shot at being mediocre parents – lol.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This was a sponsored post and I enjoyed writing it, all opinions and thoughts are my own. Thank you.