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Child has periodic stomach pain and burning, small amount of grey-green feces, taken magnesium citrate

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My granddaughter is seven years old. She started complaining about stomach pain just over a week ago. She saw a doctor who diagnosed a virus and was prescribed ranitidine for stomach burning. Then last Saturday night, she was in the emergency room. X-ray showed stool all in the colon, and was prescribed mag citrate. She had many bowel movements over the next two days. She continues to have periodic stomach pain and burning. She feels the need to have a bowel movement, but verbally complains that she cannot go. Tonight she was given 3 oz. mag citrate. When she went to the bathroom, there an extremely small amount of grey-green feces.
Posted Sun, 15 Apr 2012 in Digestion and Bowels
Answered by Dr. Rakhi Tayal 6 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

It seems that the pain in the stomach of your granddaughter is due to extreme constipation. This has made bowel appear loaded with fecal matter on an X-ray.
Magnesium citrate is a saline laxative and is used to empty the bowel completely.

Passing a grey- XXXXXXX feces only once is not a matter of concern. If she passes such a stool again then she might need to be investigated for her liver functions. Greyish color stool is commonly seen in liver dysfunction or jaundice.

The main aspect of treatment in this situation, would be dietary changes to solve her problem of chronic constipation, and symptom relief with laxatives for a short duration.

There are many things which can help to relieve constipation. They include

1. Eating more fruits, vegetables and grains, which are high in fiber.
Foods XXXXXXX in SOLUBLE Fiber: Oatmeal or oat bran; Brown rice; Orange, grapefruit, XXXXXXX plantain. Foods that can act as laxatives: Prunes, figs, Psyllium husk, shredded wheat, flaxseed (oil), Senna, Cascara sagrada, Aloe vera juice, Dandelion root, Molasses, Liquorice, etc.
2. Drinking plenty of water and other liquids.
3. Getting enough exercise, abdominal exercises are best to improve gut motility.
4. Taking time to have a bowel movement when you need to. Visit the toilet for 15 minutes in the morning, even if you are unable to have a bowel movement. This relaxes and stimulates your digestive system.
5. Relaxation and stress management techniques.
6. Proper dietary habits, regular meals, not missing meals and breakfast,etc. Sit quietly for 15 minutes after eating a meal to aid in digestion.

Hope this answers your query. I will be glad to answer the follow up queries that you have.

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