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July 2013
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September 2013

August 2013

“He Won’t Drink All of His Poop Medicine!”

A problem I hear over and over from parents is that they are unable to get their child to finish all of their PEG laxative. Chapter 13 of my book contains a section titled, “How to get children to drink laxatives.” One suggestion is to mix the powder predissolved in a cold food such as ice cream, yogurt or a smoothie.

Recently, a mother told me about another cold food that works well for her child:

“I have found a way to be certain that my son gets all of his laxative. I have always had trouble making sure he drinks all of the juice I mixed it in. Recently, my mom bought us a Zoku popsicle maker. I make him a popsicle every night with his dose mixed in and he looks forward to it. He eats the entire popsicle, and, therefore, I know he has finished “drinking” all of his poop medicine.”

Popsicles! What a great idea, especially during these warm summer days.  Thanks to this mother for emailing!

Recommended Products: "Big Potty" Step Stool

Though the features and brands are always changing, I have been recommending certain types of products to my patients for years. The ones I feature here are my current favorites. 

Last month I featured the best children's potty chair. For those children who typically sit on the "big potty," it is very important that the child's feet rest flat on a hard surface. This helps the child feel more secure and, together with the handles on a toilet seat insert (next month's featured product), provides leverage when he or she tries to "push".

I am partial to the Little Looster's Looster Booster or the Squatty Potty shown below. Their widths allow a child more ways to climb up and down from the toilet safely and makes it easier to spread their legs apart while keeping their feet firmly planted on the hard surface. I also like the BABYBJÖRN Safe Step because of its solid construction and no-slip rubber base.








Little Looster's Looster Booster


Squatty Potty

Are Probiotics Effective for Functional Constipation?

Earlier this year I attended the 10th International Symposium on Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. This symposium brings together many of the leading GI researchers and clinicians from around the world to present their findings.

One of the hot topics these days is the role of intestinal bacteria in human nutrition and susceptibility to disease. There are over 100 million bacteria in our skin and mouth, but mostly in our intestines, that may predispose us to a range of chronic diseases.  Unfortunately, there are not many related interventions that have been proven effective.

One fascinating success, though unrelated to constipation, is "fecal transplants" which involves transplanting a healthy person’s stool (and therefore healthy bacteria) into a sick person’s gut (colon).  It has been shown to effectively treat Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), which produces antibiotic resistant intestinal bacteria.

However, there is still no known connection between functional constipation and any specific bacteria or group of bacteria. Without knowing which bacteria might be involved in functional constipation, the value of probiotics (live bacteria supplements that may provide health benefits) in the treatment of functional constipation is unclear.

That said, preliminary studies have shown that probiotics or combinations of probiotics may improve intestinal functioning (e.g. transit time and frequency of bowel movements) and may, therefore, be helpful in preventing or treating occasional childhood constipation. 

A few of my patients have described some success using probiotics with their children to encourage bowel movements. While we wait for more definitive scientific studies, the moderate use of probiotics is certainly worth a try!