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My son is 3 1/2 and since he was about 2 he has been suffering from severe constipation, blockages, and stomach bloating. We have taken him to a pediatric gastro specialist and he has been on daily miralax and milk of magnesia for about 8 months. The issue (now that the blockage has cleared) is that my son is scared to death to let his poop out. He is on the medicine so that he can't hold it in, but amazingly he STILL can some days!! I seriously don't know how he can still hold that in? We increased his medicine which has forced him to go daily or every 2 days depending on how willing he is to go. But I am worried because even after he has diarreaha his stomach is extremely bloated and distended. Can that be caused by all of the medicine? I feel helpless. We have tried discussing with him and he seems to really understand, but doesn't change his behavior. We give presents, we give positive reinforcement, we've tried ignoring him all together, he knows that if he holds it in for three days he gets an enema, which he hates. Please help with any information or advice.

Hi, Alison,

It sounds like the constipation is no longer an issue.  The issue now is a behavioral one.  He is at a perfect age for toilet training resistence, especially since he has had awful experiences with large hard stools that hurt.  I would simply ignore this.  What else really can you do?  The more attention you pay to this, the more he will resist.  The medicine is safe and he just needs to realize that to be comfortable, he needs to go every day and that with the soft stools, it won't hurt.

Good luck, Dr. Olson


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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