Hi! I’m Christine Stephenson. I’m a pediatric physical therapist, a mom of two lively, opinionated, lovely girls, co-pilot of the amazing Hans Stephenson, trail runner, reader, journaler, traveler, sometimes-baker, sometimes-yoga practitioner and sometimes-meditator. But most relevant, here, is that I’m an expert on treating childhood chronic constipation.
“What? Can’t you just give your kid some MiraLax and be done with it?” - I hear you asking. To which I reply: you clearly don’t work with any of the chronically constipated kids that I know. Because chronic constipation in childhood is tough. It makes kids irritable and sluggish. It ruins their appetite and gives them stomachaches. It causes encopresis, which is the involuntary leakage of poop, and can be a big contributor to urinary incontinence as well. It affects every aspect of a child’s life, and consequently of the family’s life.
What makes it even worse is that when parents Google childhood constipation, looking for help, they often land on sites that promote a pharmaceutical intervention alone. Or they read that poor diet and exercise are to blame, so improvements in those areas will fix the constipation. Unfortunately, neither of these interventions, alone, will do the trick in the long-term.
What I’ve learned over the years is that treating chronic constipation requires the expertise of quite a few professionals: physicians, nutritionists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists, to name the most common. But frequently, kids and families only hear from two sources: physicians and the Internet. So, I set out to make this small corner of the Internet a trusted, evidence-based source for strategies for managing constipation.
I recently took some time off from my regular job as a pediatric PT to create this site. I’m calling it my sabbatical, and I’m devoting it to spreading the word about treating childhood constipation. My intended audience on this site is parents as well as pediatric health care providers, including those listed above. I think we will all do better when we know the power and limitations of our chosen fields.
In the coming weeks, I hope publish my book: “The Constipation Playbook: A Step-By-Step Guide to Managing Your Child’s Chronic Constipation.” You'll be able to buy a paperback copy here, and an e-edition on Amazon. In it, I have outlined short- and long-term strategies to get your child feeling better. To help you further, I will load this site with supplemental materials such as charts and instructional videos. And I will update this blog with all sorts of posts related to childhood constipation.
I hope you’ll subscribe to my email list (at the bottom of this page) to get updates on this project. It would be a wonderful bonus if you invited others to subscribe (let's face it: if you're one of the first readers of this blog, you're just a friend of mine who has been listening to me talk about poop for years. I need to get the word out to people who need help!)
I also hope you will reach out to me with ideas, strategies that have worked for you, and specific challenges you would like addressed. Few things make me happier than hearing I have made a child’s life better by helping them poop more.
And so … we begin!
Christine Stephenson, PT, DPT
A.K.A. The Constipation Coach