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Children's Health

Four year old son`s bad behaviour and soiling

04/07/2009

Question:

hi my 4 year old has been soiling himself for sometime now and he has been put on movicol and he has been on this for sometime but he still won`t poo in the toilet, also since he was small we have had problems with his behaviour which is getting really bad just now and even his little brother is scared of him. i have tried lots of different things but nothing seems to work. could these two problems be linked in some way?

Answer:

Thank you very much for the question. Your question about the connection between soiling and behavior problems is very interesting. One process that does come to mind is Lead Toxicity. Children with lead poisoning can exhibit behavior problems which can mimic problems with attention and hyperactivity. In addition, lead poisoned children often exhibit abdominal pain and constipation which could lead to soiling. Your pediatrician will likely ask you a series of questions to assess your son's risk:

Was your house built before 1950?
Was you your house built before 1978, and recently remodeled?
Does your child play with anyone with lead poisoning?
Does anyone in the home have any occupations or hobbies that involve lead (renovating old homes, staining glass, working with batteries, and others)?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, your pediatrician may obtain a blood lead level on your child. Thank you for the question.

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Response by:

Stephen E Wilson, MD, MSc Stephen E Wilson, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine
College of Medicine
University of Cincinnati