Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The power of poop.

One of the things that perpetually amazes new parents is just how much their lives can be affected by their children's pee and poop. As adults, we take these biological processes for granted. If we're lucky, we don't have to think too much about it all. But you get a group of moms with young kids together often enough, and eventually they'll be sharing information about their children's "habits." You know, frequency. Color. Consistency (both the "regularity" and the "what texture" types of consistency). It's quite lovely.

So in the interest of honoring such an age-old tradition (heh), I'll share with you what's going on with Zoodle.

A few months back, I blogged about a very expensive trip Zoodle took to the ER, in which we found out he was constipated. It was a pricey way to get inside information on my kid's bowels. The diagnosis surprised me, because he was pooping pretty regularly. But he'd gotten "backed up" and we were instructed to give him Miralax. (We got a generic version.) I used it for about a week, and he seemed to get "cleaned out."

Fast forward to this week. Zoodle has been needing to pee frequently, but is often unable to. I was afraid he had a urinary tract infection, so I took him to the pediatrician today.

His urine was clear, but she said he's probably still constipated, even though, as before, he's been going fairly regularly. However, he's been putting it off until it's really urgent. She explained that the poop can get stuck up in the small intestine in little clumps. Softer stools can still come out, but the child can still be backed up. The intestine can even swell, pushing on the bladder, making him feel like he needs to pee, even when he doesn't.

Wow. So the pee problem was related to the poop problem. The doctor suggested that we give him Miralax daily for six months. The bottle says to only use it for seven days, which is why I stopped giving it to him when he seemed to be better last time. But she explained that the warning is there to make sure that people don't cover up a bigger problem by taking a laxative each day. Zoodle has already had the constipation diagnosis (confirmed by x-ray), so it's fine for him to take the medication for a longer time, to make sure he gets cleaned out and the intestines recover.

The moral of the story? Kids can be constipated even when they're pooping regularly. Even when their poop is soft. And the urgent need to pee isn't always a bladder issue.

I know this post should have a big, red, blinking "TOO MUCH INFORMATION!!!" warning on it. But I'm hoping it'll help some other parents. Because I know if you have little kids, you're aware of the power of poop.


Mellodee said...

There are all sorts of fun issues that kids can have with the two "Ps"! One of the worst is withholding! That becomes a struggle of wills if you have a stubborn child. M went through that for a while and she could be a very stubborn kid. Oh boy, that was no walk in the park! She took Miralax for a good long while to make things easier for her. She got over it and she's fine now.

SurvivorBlessing said...

I like Mellodee's comment: 'Struggles of will' - that seems to be the motto in our house! Stubborn is an understatement for my daughter... wow, could this be 'normal' behavior for a toddler?

Beth, I so feel for you and with you! It is so frustrating to watch them fight the two Ps.... when for us adults, it's business as usual, do-it-and-get-it-over-with. I hope the Miralax will help him get regulated and he can learn that it is so much better to get it all out rather than to hold it in!

Unknown said...

Being a care giver of little creatures (of pet and the child variety) you really do rely on clues like poop as to what is going on inside their little bodies. They can't always tell us, but usually their poop does.

Sorry to hear that little Z is having trouble with his intestines again. Hopefully taking the meds for a few months will get things moving along as they should. Sending good thoughts his way.