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Can a toddler have IBS? Sorry long post!

Hi, my daughter is 2 and half and has problems going to the toilet since last August when she had a very bad dose of sickness and diahrrea. The virus went but the diarrea stayed and it was very distressing for her because her tummy hurt so much everytime she went for a poo. After a month i went to the doctor who took a sample to test for lactose intolarance and in the mean time i was told to keep her off milk, cheese yogurts etc and just give her soya. I did this and it did improve slightly but the results came back negative and so i found out that her stomach lining could have been weakened through the sicness and diahrrea bug she had and this can cause temporary lactose intolarance. So i kept her on soya for another 6 weeks or so but she'd still get diahrrea just not as much. I slowly put her back on cows milk (semi-skimmed), again she was ok for a while but still had the diahrrea sometimes. Then at christmas she got constipation really badly and it took us ages to get her to for a poo again properly, i changed her diet to see if it was anything she was eating but then she just got diahrea again! She was making herself ill by holding it because she was so afraid of it hurting but that obviously gave her really bad tummy pains. We put her on lactalose (sp?) which she had for a few weeks and when she went for a poo we told her she was agood girl and made a fuss. She now goes again but it is either very smelly diahrrea with a bad tummy ache or constipated with pain. I feel so sorry for her, but i have tried changing what she eats etc but it doesn't seem to help which makes me think it could be IBS. This is making potty training almost impossible as i can't have her stopping herself doing a poo because she doesn't want to go on the potty because she gets chronic pain-so bad at times she can't walk around. My doctor was useless after her lactose result came back negative, he obviously thought there was nothing wrong. I'm really quite worried now. Can anyone offer any advice about this or IBS (i don't have IBS)? does anyone know how i can ger her referred to a pediatician?
Sorry for the long post but really am stuck on what to do
Thanks x


  • I've got no experience of IBS, however, I can really sympathise with what you're going through. My dd is also 2 and a half and for the last year she has had problems going to the toilet too. 12 months ago she had awful nappy rash, it was raw and bleeding and the usual nappy free time etc didn't work. After 2 trips to the dr it was diagnosed as thrush and it took a further week of steroid cream before any improvement. During this time she started stopping herself having a poo because it hurt so much, she would go a bit then stop. She was going up to 12 times a day and wouldn't let us clean her up so remainded very sore because of the frequency she was going. After a month of this and lots of tears from us all we finally cracked it and it cleared up.

    Every few weeks though she would get a flare up on the same rash then go throgh the cycle off holding herself at the slightest bit of pain. After another month of this we returned to the doctor only to be given lactulose which didn't seem to do much as it just a stool softener and more cream not an explanation as to why she had it in the first place, we were worried she was damaging her bowels by doing this. On the next visit we were given sachets of movicol to try and help her go to the toilet in one go, this helped but didn't cure the problem. After another month we finally saw a more considerate dr who really wanted to help, he sent a letter to the paediatrician with his concerns and could see why we wanted to solve the problem not just treat it when it occured.

    After 2 months we saw the paediatrician who sent away swabs, turned out she had a virus in her system which made the rash flare up every few weeks. This has now been treated and so far has not returned but she is left with a fear of having a poo still. She will wee in the potty but will hide to poo or hold it all day until she has a nappy on. Even with a nappy on she won't tell us she's been and will put up a hell of a struggle to avoid being cleaned. The paediatrician said to phone him in a few months if she is still doing this as the hospital have a bowel clinic where they can give us help with her controlling her bowels and tips on how to help her. It sounds like something like this might help your little one.

    I know what my dd has is a bit different to yours but at least we managed to get somewhere with the doctors and got a referral. It took lots of trips to the doctors before they would help us rather than just prescribing cream. I would go again and demand a referral to a paediatrician as the wait to see them can be quite long. Sorry I seemed to have waffled on a bit here but I hope this helps in some way and I really do feel for you.

  • You haven't waffled on at all! Thankyou so much for replying, i feel so sorry for your daughter, Emma also gets very sore from the diahrrea and stops herself going because of it and its awful to see her so uncomfortable. I just feel so useless, today she has suddenly came down with something-she has a cough and its very sleepy and has just been laying on the sofa all day, she has gone to bed with a temperature and a rash around her mouth which she seems to get everytime she has a bad tummy ache for a few days or is ill. I swear she seems to catch colds and things a lot easier because of all her bowel trouble.
    I am going to see the health visitor tomorrow for my 11 week old dd and i will ask her for advice about this.
    I hope your dd rash stays away, thanks again for your reply.

  • I wish I could have been of more help. It's so awful seeing your lo in such discomfort. I'm sorry Emma is under the weather again, there's got to be something that can be done for her, poor little thing. I hope the hv can be of some help today and maybe sort you a referral for a paediatrician through your GP. Let us know how you get on and how Emma is today. xx
  • Hi donk, Emma has been really poorly today and has a bad constipation with tummy pains all day. She kept saying 'tummy hurts' and getting me to rub her tummy-i was nearlly in tears! She has had more lactalose today to help loosen it up but she hasn't been. The health vistor told me that they can not get referrals to the pediatrician and to take her to see the doctor again and just make sure he knows how ill she can get. The health visitor was really nice though and told me that once we have seen a pediatrician she can give me information on local groups that help toddlers with potty training who have had similar problems if she is still not potty trained by then.
    I'm going to phone the doctors tomorrow but i may not beable to take her until next week as i have to get a bus there and she won't walk when she is so ill (i don't have a double push chair). I am going to make sure he knows how upsetting this for her and how ill she gets and make him refer her and hopefully we'll get somewhere with it as she can't go on like this.
  • I'm sorry that Emma's been no better today, it sounds like you got somewhere with the hv and hopefully when you get to see a doctor they will understand everything that Emma has been through. We saw several doctors with Megan and each of them wanted to treat the rash not the cause of it until we saw the doctor that referred her. You've said she's taking lactulose, I found that this didn't do a lot for Megan, the Movicol was stronger and seemed better to me...maybe this would help until you get your referral to the paediatrician, it might be worth asking.

    I know how you feel with Emma getting so upset, now they're a bit older and more vocal they can express how they're feeling more. Megan used to scream "stop it mummy, you're hurting me" when I tried to change her nappy. Quite a few times I would cry when she was out of the room. Like you I also have another lo which made dealing with her problems harder at times, mine is 5 months now - not quite as young as yours.

    I hope you get your referral and I hope that Emma feels better soon. Best of luck for your doctors appointment and remember to explain everything right from the beginning in order to give them the full picture.

    Let me know how you get on and I hope Emma begins to feel better soon.

  • Hi Vikki & 2 girls,

    How has Emma been this week? Any luck with seeing the doctor and getting a referral?

  • hi donk, no referral! I took Emma to the doctor and he prescribed her lactulose which i already give her and something to help calm the tummy spasms and thats it. He felt her tummy and said that she was constipated and i said 'yes she is at the moment'. He told me to go back to him in a month if nothing has changed but i'm going to change doctors and then get them to refer her because this has been going on long enough now.
    Thank you for asking how it went. Hope everything is ok with you.
  • hi rach24, i know they are really useless!! My husband said to me that he can't understand why they just wouldn't refer her-i mean what has the doctor got to lose! Its just so frustrating.
    Thank you for replying its nice to know some people care even if the bloody doctor doesn't!

  • Hi i just wanted to update. I changed doctors last week. After an awful month of Emma being really poorly, monday she woke up and couldn't stop being sick-she couldn't even keep down a sip of water, this has happened before when she is really badly constipated. I got so worried i called NHS direct (as it was bankholiday) and they got me an appointment with the emergency doctor who looked at her tummy and listened to what i told him, he said that if she was his patient he'd refer her because something def wrong but he can't refer her it has to be her own doctor. So today i took her to our new doctor and he was great! Finally a doctor who listened to me! He has put an referal in and she will see a pediatrician soon. I am so happy that someone has finally listened to me after a year.

    Thanks again for your replys

  • It's really awful that it took this long to get something sorted, your doctor sounds dreadful, I can't understand why he has let her get like this without a referral. Poor Emma, I'm glad that you managed to see a doctor with a bit more sense, sympathy and understanding. It sounds like you've all had a dreadful time of it again but hopefully now the referral won't take too long and she'll be on the mend. Best of luck with it all and thanks for the update. Hope Emma starts to feel better soon.

  • I've just read this and I can't believe what an ordeal you've had getting your poor little girl referred. Am really glad you have now and hope you get some answers asap. I don't know if this would be similar at all but I remember reading a topic about 'toddler diorrea' on here before under children with special needs thread, maybe you'd know if it was something worth researching. Good luck
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