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Children's Health

Problems with bowels

01/30/2009

Question:

Hello my son is 11. His bowel movements take about 40 mins each time and the stool is runny. He will excrete small amounts and then feels like he still has to go. (this is why it takes so long) He is now stressed about when he should take his bathroom breaks. "If I go tonight then I won`t be able to go in the morning and that means I will have to go during the day at school" he has spent the last week with horrible cramps in his intestines. Our family doctor says it is IBS but I have been reading about when he should eat and as a family we are right in line with the proper foods being eaten. I have been giving him Pepto for the stomach cramps but i am starting to think he has a bowel obstruction that is preventing anything other than liquid stool to pass. Help!!!

Answer:

It sounds much more like constipation, in which he is only able to pass liquid stool around the harder stool in the colon, which explains why he continues to feel that he needs to go more when he is finished, why it takes so long and is probably brought on in part by his fear of going at school.  Please discuss your concerns with your child's primary care provider for further diagnosis and information.

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Response by:

Michael Spigarelli, MD, PhD
Formerly, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati