Tristan my amazing twenty-one month old little boy is afraid to poop, how this could happen is something I often think about. I nursed him for over a year and incase you are not aware when a baby is nursed their poop is more watery and seedy than thick and pasty. He was always a very gasy and colicky baby but it wasn’t until I started him on baby food that I began to notice his troubles with pooping. His first solid bowel movement was a moment of sheer panic and terror, it was so bad that even I cried. I rushed him to the doctor where I was told it was ok for a baby to feel some discomfort with their first solid bowel movement, being baby number six for me you would think I would be more together by now.
I did not question the doctor and focused on giving him high fiber foods to help soften his stools but as time passed it did not get any better, one day I realized his rectum was very small. I again rushed him to the doctor where she agreed with me this time that something seemed off so she sent us to see a GI (Gastrointerologist). There they performed blood work and put him on a laxative while we waited to see a Pediatric surgeon. We visited the surgeon not long after the GI where she stretched his rectum a bit when she evaluated him to make sure everything was formed correctly. We left there with no answers other than some children suffer from constipation and that I need to feed him foods high in fiber and cut back on milk which is a constipating agent.
And so I did all of that and after several months the GI decided it was best to take him off of the laxative and I performed a natural cleanse. Slowly I started to realize he had become so scared of pooping that he was holding it in causing the stools to become dry and very hard. It continued to progress slowly getting worse until he began to scream in terror at every bowel movement and I literally had to help him poop because he could not empty on his own. He would for almost a week without pooping and he was just plain terrified to the point where he would become hysterical when I would change his diaper.
I decided it was time to get answers because this was not getting any better so I took him back to the doctor last month and she decided it would be best to put him on Miralax while we figure out what was going on. It took a couple of days to find the perfect dosage for him but I did. As I tried to figure out what was causing this I began to worry that the unexplained crying he experienced as a baby which we suspect was colic was somehow linked to a problem with his bowels so I shared my fear with the doctor (she is our new doctor of only 5 months). She suspected he was just afraid of pooping and holding it in which was causing the difficulty but to be safe she ordered a barium enema to set my mind at ease.
He had the procedure done at the hospital two weeks ago, daddy stayed at home with Sophie because hospitals are a dangerous place for her. I became nervous when the radiology tech told me they would not be sedating him but she explained that the procedure was very quick and painless and she was very nice which kept me calm. The entire procedure was explained to me in detail and it turned out not to be as bad as I expected for him, it was quick the entire procedure took less that five minutes. They inserted a very thin tube in his rectum with the barium liquid while he laid on his stomach and they took a video of it. The hard part was the waiting for the emptying. He was so upset with me and I for one do not blame him. The critical part was to see how well his bowels would empty and it did not take more than thirty minutes but they emptied nicely. We had to wash him down more than once and by the time I left I had poop all over my pants, literally. But it was all worth it for the normal results and I now have peace of mind.
Now we know his bowels are normal and his body is responding and processing correctly but his fear is still very real. He is just now able to poop without crying thanks to his daily dose of Miralax. It’s taken well over a month for him to regulate and he does still become nervous and will alert me when he feels the sensation to poop, I just reassure him that’s it’s ok while I give him a big a smile. Even with a normal result our pediatrician would like him followed by a GI because he will need to be on laxative for some time. I thought this would be something he would get over soon, imagine my shock when she told me it can take some children years before they let go of this fear.
I never imagined fear of pooping could become something so serious if left untreated but I can only hope and pray that he will get over this one day. Imagine being afraid of something that is a natural process of your daily bodily functions and to not understand why it has to happen. My poor little guy.