Over the years, we have heard from a number of people troubled by large bowel movements that would stop up the toilet. It can be hard to figure out what to do about this problem if we don’t know the cause of the big BMs.
Encopresis as a Cause of Big BMs:
Q. My eight-year-old son had encopresis. He would avoid using the toilet for as long as possible. When he ultimately had to go, he’d pass bowel movements so large that they clogged the toilet.
The doctor had him on Miralax twice a day to keep him regular, but the drug caused him to have an accident at school. I felt so bad for him. We had to change schools because he was so embarrassed.
Now he is better and takes two fiber gummies, two probiotics and two vitamins after dinner. He is doing really well.
A. Both children and adults can suffer from encopresis. Symptoms can include constipation, days between bowel movements and abdominal pain. Some people have no symptoms but pass big BMs that clog the toilet.
Addressing the constipation is certainly a good approach. Adequate fluid and plenty of fiber are usually the first recommendation. Probiotics may also be helpful. We need to know more, however, about which species of probiotic are most helpful in keeping stool soft and bowels comfortable.
Pros and Cons of Magnesium:
Some people use magnesium supplements to solve the problem. Although this mineral can counteract constipation, there may be negative consequences from taking too much. One reader reported this experience:
“I thought I should take magnesium for my bowel problem. After three days of swallowing a 300 mg tablet each day, I now say: Don’t do it! Magnesium caused serious loose bowels and watery explosive bowel movements.”
People differ in their reactions, and some tolerate 300 mg of magnesium daily easily. Others even find that this is the best dose. But it is worth remembering that even natural remedies can have unpleasant consequences.