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Thread: Scoliosis and constipation?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    UK
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    Scoliosis and constipation?

    Hi everyone,

    I was just reading the thread from "Jen", and was extremely interested about what was being said about constipation. Is there a definite link between scoliosis and constipation?

    My daughter was diagnosed with scoliosis at 2 (she is now 4). There is also a suspected underlying neuro-muscular disease. She has suffered from chronic constipation practically from birth. Our GP and Paediatrician just shrugged it off every time I brought it up, and told me to give her more fibre. It was only when she was nearly 3 a health visitor saw her distressed, howling and doubled over (a regular event) that I was finally given a repeat prescription of senna and lactulose (a stool softener). I was also given a referral to a "continence adviser". They said that her distress was due to her attempting to retain stools to avoid pain caused by earlier bouts of constipation.

    She is still seeing the "continence adviser"...but I just don't totally buy into this "retention" theory. She is toilet trained now, has no toilet phobia, is on daily senna and lactulose and has a good high fibre diet. However she still seems to find it actually physically difficult and uncomfortable to pass stools (even when they are completely loose), and if she doesn't get her medication everything quickly jams up completely . The paediatrician still says it's not linked to the scoliosis, the ortho says "not my field". The neuro didn't seem interested. The only person who showed any interest was a professor of dermatology at Great Ormond Street Hospital who was taking a "full history" for research into mid-line haemangiomas. She said that the birthmark, the scoliosis, muscle weakness and constipation were not seperate conditions but were all linked together.

    Emma doesn't suffer from GERD.Does anybody know anything about what physically can cause these sorts of problems, and how it could be diagnosed?

    Thanks
    Kate

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Fernley, Nevada
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    You might want to see a pediatric gastroentrologist. This is a doc that deals with problems of the bowel and stomach. Her ortho and her pedi doc would not necessarly know how to treat her. Her Pedi doc should have recommended a gastroentrologist. Ask him.
    SandyC

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida
    Posts
    260
    I would agree on seeing a gastro.
    I was born not only with the scoliosis but some other problems one of which is something called anal atresia which is narrowed or absent anal opening, also sometimes called imperforate anus).
    This was corrected with surgery when I was born.

    Have them check to make sure her anal opening is the right size.
    36 year old single mom of teens ages 14 & 15.
    Anterior/posterior spinal fusion on February 9th & 16th 2006 with Dr. Anthony Moreno who now has his own practice.
    Fused from T-3 to S-1 (sacrum)
    Curve pre-op = 70 degrees
    Curve post op = 20 degrees
    No pain anymore!!
    Google is your friend

    I am not a doctor and will never give medical advice. I will support and answer questions from personal experience only.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    UK
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    Thanks

    I definitely think you are right about seeing a gastro, in fact it was suggested by our GP some time back....but the paediatrician wouldn't make the referral saying it was just a childhood problem that she would grow out of. Mind you the paed said when she couldn't walk at 2 yrs old "Oh she's just a late developer. It was the same health visitor I mentioned before, who actually recognised the scoliosis and muscle problems and initiated subsequent referrals.

    This is one drawback of the National Health Service in the UK...treatment is free (which is great), but it's very hard to switch paediatricians, particularly if you live in a small city (only one hospital). I had to fight to get her seen at Great Ormond St in London, where she now goes for ortho, neuro and dermatology, but we're still stuck with this local paed. However I will try and bypass him and see if I can get a referral from the neuro when we see her in April.

    P.S Good luck with your surgery "Kat" hope it all goes ok!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Utah
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    1,010
    Braydon has GERD, gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying) and is prone to constipation. He was born with anal stenosis (5 months of rectal dilations were needed). He is on a bowel management program to keep him "moving". Without senna-based laxatives, he wouldn't have a bowel movement. Some kids need to have help with their GI system.

    In kids with congenital spine malformations, constipation and other GI issues seem common. I don't know of any scientific studies that link scoliosis (congenital or idiopathic) to GI problems, but I know of many who have both issues.
    Carmell
    mom to Kara, idiopathic scoliosis, Blake 19, GERD and Braydon 14, VACTERL, GERD, DGE, VEPTR #137, thoracic insufficiency, rib anomalies, congenital scoliosis, missing coccyx, fatty filum/TC, anal stenosis, horseshoe kidney, dbl ureter in left kidney, ureterocele, kidney reflux, neurogenic bladder, bilateral hip dysplasia, right leg/foot dyplasia, tibial torsion, clubfoot with 8 toes, pes cavus, single umblilical artery, etc. http://carmellb-ivil.tripod.com/myfamily/

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Posts
    4

    emmasmum--question to your constipation post

    emmasmum, i am 31 and had scoliosis spinal fusion with harrington rod when i was 11. i also have had constipation all my life. i also have a haemangioma and I suffer from muscle weakness (which may contribute to the constipation). i'm interested in the dermatologist doing research at the Great Ormond Street Hospital. Do you have her name? I'd love to be part of the research. I feel that scoliosis affects other systems of the body and there is scant research on this. I'm currently having some problems related to my constipation and the doctors do not link it with scoliosis but I think it may be and would love to talk to this doc you mentioned. thanks!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    S. Jersey
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    [QUOTE=emmasmum] research into mid-line haemangiomas. She said that the birthmark, the scoliosis, muscle weakness and constipation ....

    I had to fight to get her seen at Great Ormond St in London, where she now goes for ortho, neuro and dermatology, but we're still stuck with this local paed. However I will try and bypass him and see if I can get a referral from the neuro when we see her in April.QUOTE]

    Did the neuro do an MRI? Does she have any urinary issues? When the dermatologist said these things go together, she probably meant a tethered spinal cord. The hemangioma is a skin marker for TC, when the bottom of the spinal cord is stuck and not free floating, and this causes neurological problems over time with the bowels, bladder and leg nerves... Billy had a midline hemangioma over his sacral spine above his buttocks, muscle issues in his left leg, constipation (although like katblack he had an imperforate anus), etc. and was diagnosed with a tethered cord. Tension on the nerves to the muscles in the area can pull on the spine and cause scoliosis also, or worsen existing scoliosis.

    Here is an article about skin markers and tethered cord...

    http://nasw.org/users/twoharts/OSD.html

    Hopefully this has already been ruled out... by neuro, do you mean neurologist or neurosurgeon, because neurosurgeons treat tethered cord... Also, thank goodness for the senna laxative, but fiber makes Billy worse not better... we stay away from things that are TOO high in fiber, especially popcorn, it totally stops him up. You might be better with a regular rather than high fiber diet with her constipation, especially if muscle weakness is preventing her from pushing it out well... It's easy and worth a weeks trial or so, you can always go back to the fiber if it doesn't work...
    Connie - Mom to Billy 5
    (CRS/VACTERLS incl. tethered cord, IA, single kidney, hemisacrum, levoscoliosis with hemivertebrae (fusion T11 to S2/hips 8/06), extra left rib, hypospadius, hypoplastic left leg w/clubfoot and 4.5cm length discrepancy,GI issues) conni60640@aol.com, http://members.tripod.com/conni60640-ivil/
    TC support group http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/LMC-TCS/
    Congenital scoliosis support group - http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group...liosisSupport/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    26

    Sorry for the late reply!

    Hi,

    Sorry for the late reply, but I haven't visited the site for a while. First of all Curvygirl....The dermatologist Emma saw at Grt Ormond St was Dr Syed who worked with Prof Harper...I'm not sure how active the "research" she referred to is....but she certainly helped to get me referrals to the other depts within the hospital.

    As a result it has now been revealed that Emma is also hemiplegic as a result of damage to the left side of the brain at or before birth. She is also presenting a lot (but not all) of the symptoms of Aspergers syndrome. So I've been busy genning up on their associated websites/forums hence my absence from this one! The haemangioma (which is resolving well) is on the midline of her forehead, the dimple is just above her buttock crease.

    There's so many conditions going on, that it's hard to know what's going on! Emma is now having normal bowel movements every day (not rabbit pellets!) WITHOUT any medication at all (goodbye senna and lactullose). However it still seems to take a lot of effort, furious head rubbing and occasional complaints of discomfort. Her MRI showed no evidence of tethered spine.

    I'm now starting to wonder whether it's a combination of muscle weakness and hyper-sensitivity to tactile sensation, which manifests itself in lots of strange ways apparently in kids with aspergers. When her brace is off she can't bear having her torso touched (bounces around like a cat on hot bricks) cos "it's too tickly" and rolls around on the floor trying to get rid of "the itch". She also has "hyper-sensitive hearing" and throws hysterical panic attacks over certain noises (hoovers, hand-driers, lawnmowers etc).

    This "multi-condition" thing is just so confusing, it's hard to see the wood for the trees (what's treatable and what isn't, for instance) Anyway at least she doesn't seem to be overly worried about any of this (she seems to accept it all as "normal stuff" now), and has started sighing and telling me "Don't worry Mum I'm okay!"

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