Since my daughter was born she has had a problem with not going to the bathroom everyday.

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This is a rather “delicate” subject with my daughter. Ever since she was born, she has had a problem with not going to the bathroom every day and therefore having very large stools. We have tried a variety of remedies Metamucil, orange juice every morning, cereal with bran flakes or oat flakes. Nothing seems to work. I worry that if she has this problem as a teen what will it be like for her as an adult.

Her metabolism must be very slow and I worry about her body being poisoned or possibly cancer. I have taken her to the doctor that’s when we tried the bran and oat flakes to no avail. I would really appreciate your advice on this matter. Thanks very much.

You did not say what the consistency of your daughter’s stool is. If it looks like round balls stuck together, then she is constipated. If the stool is brown colored water, then she has diarrhea. Anything in between in terms of consistency of stool is normal.

FYI, menstruating women often get constipated the week prior to their period as the female body often retains water. This occurs because women’s bodies prepare for pregnancy every month! If this is a problem, then water and a fiber-rich cereal at breakfast should prevent pre-menstrual constipation.

As to the size of the stool, as long as it doesn’t cause her discomfort or abdominal pain, I would forget it. Her body has it’s own elimination pattern. Not everyone has a bowel movement every day which is also normal. Vegetarians often have larger stools because of the amount of fiber they eat.

As long as she eats fruits, vegetables, and whole grains every day while drinking enough water so that her stools can easily pass, she is fine. She can check if she is drinking enough water by paying attention to the color of her urine. It should be colorless and odorless except for the first voided urine in the morning. Also, if she eats asparagus, then her urine may smell until her body processes the asparagus.

I wouldn’t worry about her being poisoned or cancer. Your liver detoxifies your blood and at 15, I doubt your daughter would ingest a poison. A person’s risk of colon cancer increases with high fat and low fiber diets. The purpose of fiber is to clean out the gastrointestinal tract and as long as her stools aren’t constipated and she is passing normal stool. she is fine.

FYI, exercise can reduce the amount of time food takes to traverse the stomach and intestines. Does she exercise? If not, for her health and long-term weight maintenance, she should exercise 30 minutes, 5 times per week.