When our daughter, Addison (Addi for short) was two-years-old, it seemed, she had a bit of trouble with toilet training. At that stage we had no inkling whatsoever that something was wrong. We saw her straining, but we thought it was just how little ones learnt to go to the toilet.
We would always make sure Addi would have her foot-stool to ensure her body was in the right position and taught her about keeping relaxed, to let things ‘happen’. The main thing was, at that stage, we were unaware that her body was developing chronic constipation.
All of a sudden one night, when she was in the bathroom, my husband and I heard a ‘bloodcurdling’ scream coming from her. She had a rectal prolapse, when the rectum muscles collapse completely, and it protrudes outside of the body.
We didn’t know what to do, she was so little and in so much pain. We tried to remain calm, not knowing exactly what had happened, called an ambulance and she was taken to hospital. The doctors said because this had now happened once, chances were that it would happen again, as her muscles had weakened in that area.
In time, we were told that it would sort itself out and the muscles would strengthen again. We thought ‘fair enough’ we can manage this, but as the years progressed, we felt that something was not quite right.
Now Addi is eight and for the last two years she has been on medication to help keep her regular and had a procedure to inject botox, to relax the rectum muscles, and allow the body to get into routine without tension. We tried numerous diets, but after the initial pro-lapse at two, Addi developed a ‘fear’ of food, for not knowing how her body would react.
For many years she would flip from chronic constipation to social incontinence in the same day. It was a really hard time; poor Addi didn’t really know what was happening and I could see her beautiful personality and smile fading away.