I recently received a request for a telephone consultation from the mother of a 13 year old girl who had been withholding her poop for eleven years. She said that her doctors had recommended Miralax, ultra sounds, x-rays, therapy and even a barium enema when her daughter was only 4 years old, which, she said, "was horrible beyond belief and probably made everything worse".
Because she had not yet read my book, I suggested that she do so before we talked by phone. Shortly thereafter she sent me the following email:
Dear Dr. Tom,
Just to let you know that my 13-year old daughter wept like I haven't seen her weep as we read your book together and we read about kids who were like her, who are great achievers and great kids, but who have greatly struggled with functional constipation. When she read that a girl had actually recovered, she just started sobbing. There it was, a possibility she had never heard of... she has felt so alone. We all have because most people aren't willing to talk about this, so, we haven't known that this was a problem others were facing.
There has been so much shame. Doctors have mostly just sent us away telling us to feed her more prunes or giving us sheets on normal constipation which we knew somehow was very different. There has been much trauma and loss of trust with the medical world over the fact that doctors couldn't hear us, for example, when we told them that she was able to hold in an enema for 13 minutes as a four year old.
It has been a week and we are all supporting my daughter in going to the bathroom every day with Miralax. We are going to continue for 6 months with her going every day and see how this goes and contact you again if we need guidance along the way.