Hi ERIC, I'm Jason (age 13).

When I was in primary school I hardly ever had an accident but once I started high school it's been happening more and more. When I try to go to the toilet at home before school nothing ever happens except for being able to do a pee. Once I get to school and sometimes even before, like at the bus stop, I always have to go and if I try to hold it in until after school it really hurts my insides and I can't concentrate during the day.

If I try to do a poo in the toilets at school nothing comes out, even if I sit there for the whole break, but if I do it in my underwear after I get to school it's OK. Once I found that out I started doing it every day which made my insides stop hurting and that made me able to concentrate again and my grades got a lot better as well. It's the same if I am out places all day at the weekend. I always wear 3 of my underwear at school and when I am out places so no one knows and I wash them because mum doesn't like to.

Do you think that's normal for some people and why do you think I can never do it in the toilets at school or out places?

ERIC's reply:

Hi Jason, thank you for getting in touch with us.

Sometimes when we are anxious about things it makes us feel that we need to go to the toilet. If you get pain in your stomach and especially after you’ve eaten, that is usually a message that you do need a poo. Drinking at least 6-8 water based drinks throughout the day at school and consciously trying to get yourself into a good toileting routine can help. Usually 20-30 minutes after you’ve eaten is a good time to sit on the loo. It might be worth talking to your school nurse and seeing if they would let you use a private toilet, perhaps the disabled one, so you’re not in the main toilet block. It will give you more privacy and hopefully help you to relax a little.

There are many people that hate using public or school toilets, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary, but if you would prefer to use the loo at home, try to do a poo after breakfast and again after your tea. If you’re going to poo every day or every other day then that’s fine, but if you’re struggling and don’t poo for 3 or 4 days then you could have a blockage of poo in your bowel that you need to get rid of, and that’s why you might have an accident because that blockage will then produce what we call 'overflow', which is very runny, sludgy poo which comes out without you being able to stop it!

You might need a laxative, something like Movicol that you can get from your GP. It comes in a powder form and you mix it with water. The water and Movicol then gets delivered into your bowel and breaks down the poo, making it much easier for you to go (instructions on how to use and mix Movicol are available on our website). Chat with your mum about it, and get an appointment to see your GP as soon as possible, so you can get this sorted. You'll then be able to relax and enjoy yourself a lot more when out and about.

Our new website has lots more information on bowel problems which you and your mum could look at together. I think you’ll find this information helpful.

Take care,
ERIC helpline