Some parents are happy that their children are studying from home while some rue over the fact that children are missing their schools. While it is no disputing the fact that online classes keep the children busy without them having to miss their academics, there is a flipside to it. This is a story of a boy studying in 8th grade who did not shit for well over 21 days.

Gaming and Online Classes

Though online classes have kept children busy to some extent, they are largely free in the afternoons and evenings. This may not be applicable to certain schools and grades that keep the children busy online from morning to evening but it is largely applicable to many schools and children studying in lesser grades. Children tend to hop on to addictive gaming and other not-so-useful YouTube channels after their online classes.

I recently came across a peculiar young patient who was just around 13 or 14 years of age, studying in 8th grade who did not shit for a whopping 21 days. He might have had constipation initially which was ignored in the first few days. After that whenever he went to the toilet to evacuate, he had felt a pain and because he was unable to bear the pain, he would skip passing motion and would carry on with his classes or gaming. The parents had taken him to a physician who had prescribed him laxatives. But they only ended up increasing his agony as they would churn the bowl but would not make him shit. He had also substantially put on weight too. He had put on a massive 13 kilos within a few months. Alarmed by both the conditions, no shitting and weight increase, the parents approached me with the boy.

Examination and Fecal Evacuation

The boy was in severe agony when he came. I did a digital rectal examination and found out that the motion was hard inside. It could not be evacuated digitally. I could feel the mass of hardened stool which has accumulated inside and thought that it would be advisable only if the evacuation was carried under anesthesia. I informed the parents about the situation and told them that it was possible to evacuate the hardened stools only by giving anesthesia. They agreed and we performed an emergency procedure in a surgical theatre after giving the boy anesthesia. We evacuated nearly 4-5 kilos of feces from the boy’s colon.

Reading this story, one might ask how the boy not passed motion for 21 long days. This is where understanding children’s psychology plays a role. When the intial stool had hardened in the days of the 21 days spell, he felt acute pain evacuating the hardened stool. So the boy skips shitting fearing pain. His stomach obviously would have made noise about the discomfort caused due to the accumulating motion. But the boy felt that this discomfort of the stomach was better than the pain he would experience trying to push out the stools. This has led him to not pass motion for a continuous 21 days.

Conclusion – Observe your children’s motion habit on a regular basis. Ask them when they passed a motion last. Keep a tab on it. Some children pass motion every day while some pass alternate days. This is fine. If your child says that he or she has not passed a motion for over 3 days, then it is time you be careful and seek help.

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Dr. Maran is one of the top Bariatric Surgeon in Chennai helping severely obese getting their obesity treatment or weight-loss surgeries.

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