Pooping Should Not be Difficult.
As you have read here before, the use of Miralax is on the rise and sadly, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. I am extremely disappointed in the medical profession as a whole over the use of this gut-ruining product, and that it is not only being recommended, but that it is being given out as candy and expected to cure all of the poop problems in our younger generation.
I could go on and on about this awful product (again), but today, I want to address something that may aid in everyone’s bathroom troubles. You know that I am a huge fan of elimination diets and healthy lifestyle choices, including preventative care through a chiropractor. I am also a fan of naturally helping the body as it performs its necessary tasks.
This leads me to the topic of poop.
Close to 75% of adults have hemorrhoids either internally or externally, but not all experience disruptive symptoms. By age 50, more than half of Americans have chronic or active hemorrhoid symptoms. What is worse is that bloody stools, strained stools, and digestive pain is affecting younger generations more and more each year. According to the Mayo Clinic, hemorrhoids are caused by straining while having a bowel movement, along with other factors like diet and weight.
If you watch an infant grow into a toddler and begin consistently eating solid foods, you will notice the natural instinct to squat while pooping. Rarely will a toddler run and sit down to have a bowel movement. He would rather stand or squat. This is the point that we begin training him to break his natural instincts and sit on a toilet. Yes, toilets are wonderful. No, I do not want us all squatting in the woods to poop. But just because the toilet works, doesn’t mean that it allows for us to utilize it in a way that aids the body in releasing poop. At least our feet touch the floor though; a toddler or young child is expected to poop easily with his legs dangling.
Bringing a stool into the bathroom, more specifically, a stool meant to fit around the toilet – such as a Squatty Potty – can help every member of the family, even those potty-learning. The idea is simple, and it can make all the difference. The angle at which we are currently pooping at is causing strain, possible pain, and other issues. When we sit, it creates an anorectal angle, which cuts off the flow of the waste being processed. It creates an upward, unnatural pressure on the rectum making it unnecessarily hard to poop. By squatting on the stool, the angle created removes that blockage and allows the waste to pass easier and without strain.
Other problems that come with straining to eliminate body waste:
- Pelvic Floor Issues: Sitting causes extreme pressure on the anorectal angle of the colon causing the colon to protrude into the wall of the vagina. This puts pressure on the pelvic floor and causes unnecessary strain.
- Constipation: Diet plays the largest role in constipation, but improper positioning also triggers this painful ailment.
- Urinary Infections: Research has found that squatting allows you to truly eliminate the bladder with a stronger, more consistent urinary flow reducing risk of UTI’s and bladder infections.
- Colon Disease: Build-up of waste is linked to colon disease. It is important to eliminate completely and often to help reduce the risk of colon cancer.
- Investing in a Squatty Potty or similar bathroom stool will allow your colon to relax and your stool to be released quicker and easier. Your body will thank you! (I recommend the adjustable height stool if you have younger children.)
It’s hard to overlook the articles circulating on social media right now. Miralax is under fire -for good reason- and parents are crying out for another answer to their child’s constipation issues. I feel the need to speak out on this because so many families don’t think to talk to a chiropractor about this problem.
I see many families who do come in with an infant begging, “Help her poop!” And the relief I hear in their voices later that day (when they call to excitedly thank me) is wonderful! When taking care of a new baby, you follow their bowel movements so closely, and you notice every tiny struggle. But something happens after the diapers come off, when the babies turn to children. Somehow parents miss the constipation until it turns in to chronic stomach aches, backaches, crying, and debilitating pain. By this point, parents are reaching for any over-the-counter option they can find – suppositories, laxatives, miralax, whatever looks promising… but there are better options.
While you can read more about natural options on the blog HERE and HERE, I have yet to break down solely why chiropractic care is a very important factor in aiding a child’s digestive system and can be key in getting them to have a bowel movement regularly.
Research shows that between 5-28% of children today suffer from chronic constipation. These children worsen the cycle by fearing to go when the feeling arises due to the pain. But regular chiropractic care can help.
A chiropractor finds the subluxations – think ‘energy blockers’ – within the body. These blockages prevent the nervous system from completing its job of firing neurons to their destination in a timely manner. As the nervous system controls everything within the body, this can be detrimental, and can surely effect the gastrointestinal track. Typically, patients suffering from constipation are found to have subluxations through the center and lower portions of the spine. These areas are linked to the colon and intestines, and a subluxation within this area causes inflammation, which can trigger constipation. A gentle chiropractic adjustment can be enough to allow for easy bowel movements again.
It’s important to note that chiropractic care is not a one-time-fix. Regular visits are needed to maintain proper alignment within the body. This, combined with a diet void of dairy, processed foods, and high in protein, fiber, and real whole foods may be enough to keep a child using the bathroom regularly.
By Dr. Skylar Kulbacki
MiraLAX is a commonly prescribed over the counter (OTC) medication that is becoming more popular among pediatricians for the treatment of constipation in their young patients. A laxative intended for adults, MiraLAX is now being prescribed to children and infants as young as a few weeks old.
The effectiveness and safety of MiraLAX and its active ingredient polyethylene glycol 3350 (PEG) has not been tested in children.
“Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients has not been established.” 
Even though there have not been any studies to confirm the safety of the use of MiraLAX in the pediatric population, it does not stop many pediatricians from suggesting to parents to put their children on long term regimes using this potent drug. There have even been protocols created by The Seattle Children’s Hospital for long term use of MiraLAX, up to 12 months , even though it states directly on the label to not use the medication for longer than 7 days.
The cutout from the MraLAX product label .
What is this dosage doing to our children? Is it necessary?
How does MiraLAX work?
• PEG, the active ingredient in MiraLAX, is an osmotic laxative. This means that it acts by stimulating the intestines to pull in water from the body, softening the stool and allowing for an easier bowel movement. By pulling this water from the body and into the intestines, the risk for becoming severely dehydrated and experiencing electrolyte disturbances is greatly increased.
What does this mean for my child?
• By treating the symptom and not the source of constipation, a child may be at risk for developing long term complications due to chronic constipation and/or laxative use.
• The effects of prolonged and habitual use of MiraLAX is unknown, but due to its properties, this drug can at the very least cause dehydration, malnutrition, and Gastrointestinal dysfunction in a child.
• The body becomes accustomed to the stimulation provided by the medication, and constipation is likely to persist in the absence of laxative use. This creates a physical dependency upon laxatives to create a bowel movement at all.
How to help your child suffering with constipation:
• If your child is currently being treated for constipation using MiraLAX or another laxative, speak to your pediatrician about weaning your child off these medications safely.
• Try to figure out why your child may be suffering from constipation:
o Is your child drinking enough water throughout the day?
Kids Total Daily Beverage and Drinking Water Requirements:
4 to 8 year old Girls and Boys need 5 cups a day
9 to 13 year Girls need 7 cups a day
9 to 13 year old Boys need 8 cups a day
14 to 18 year old Girls need 8 cups a day
14 to 18 year old Boys need 11 cups a day
o Is your child eating a diet consisting of naturally binding foods?
o Does your child eat enough fiber each day?
o Does your child get enough physical activity throughout the day?
Daily physical activity and exercised helps to keep the bowels healthy and regular.
• If your child is still suffering from constipation after a change in diet, increased water consumption, and daily physical activity there are safe and effective options for promoting a healthy GI and regular bowel movements.
o A daily probiotic will help to feed the GI and creates an environment for regularity.
o Chiropractic care can remove any restrictions the body may have creating improper nervous system communication that directly regulate the bowel and GI tract.
o A gentle belly massage using lavender oil can help to stimulate a bowel movement. Working from the child’s right lower belly and massaging little circles with your hands in a clockwise motion in an upside-down U will help to ease discomfort and encourage a bowel movement.
Children should be having a bowel movement every day at the very least. For infants, it is more, at least 2-3 times each day. Feces are filled with toxins and it is vital to health that bowel movement are occurring daily.
1. Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Company. “Polyethylene Glycol,” Drugs.com, last revised Februaray 2016, [link].
2. Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Foundation. “Constipation Treatment Recommendations When Child is Over One Year of Age, for New Diagnosis or Recurrence of Symptoms. [link]
3. “Stop use and ask a doctor if you need to use a laxative for longer than 1 week,” MSD Consumer Care, Inc., “Directions,” “Warnings,” MiraLAX product label, [PDF file].
4. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “Water: How Much Do Kids Need?”, eatright.org, last revised May 2015, [link].