Matilda’s story, as told by her mum, Jenna
Matilda is an energetic, happy and very chatty little girl who loves to sing, dance and dress up!
Like most young children, she’s always on the go, whether she’s running around the garden or playing with her cousins.
I started potty training Matilda at two years old, but she wasn’t fully trained until she reached the age of three and a half years. I found potty training one of the hardest parts of parenting, feeling like it was a constant battle. It turned out there were some underlying health issues slowing her progress.
Matilda's struggles with her health
When Matilda turned three, she started getting poorly quite regularly. After ruling out the usual bugs and viruses, I started to realise there was a pattern to the symptoms. Matilda would be very sick, struggle to keep food and drink down, have a temperature and be very lethargic, completely unlike her usual self.
Eventually, after several trips to the doctors, it became apparent that Matilda was suffering from recurrent UTI’s. Initially, she was treated with a course of antibiotics, but with barely two weeks between each infection, something more had to be done.
Matilda was sent for an ultrasound where a problem with her kidneys was identified and she was referred to a urologist. Her consultant placed her on a preventative dose of antibiotics to help keep infections at bay while they figured out what was causing them.
Fast forward to age four, and after various tests, Matilda received a diagnosis of Megacalycosis, essentially meaning that she has a slow draining left kidney and is therefore more prone to UTI’s and kidney infections due to stagnant urine pooling in her left kidney. Fortunately, Matilda’s condition can be managed with medication and lifestyle habits, including staying hydrated and avoiding constipation.
I hadn’t realised the correlation between constipation and the function of the kidneys and bladder. Matilda had always struggled with constipation, and I had been in and out of the doctors trying to keep on top of it, unaware that it was worsening her kidney condition.
Thankfully, Matilda’s urologist referred her to the NHS Bladder and Bowel team, who were fantastic, and explained that Matilda needed a disimpaction. This involves clearing out the bowel of all the old poo using laxative medication.
The Children’s Bladder and Bowel team then recommended ERIC, a national charity dedicated to improving children’s bowel and bladder health.
ERIC - the children's bowel and bladder health charity
Like many parents, I was daunted by the disimpaction process and felt nervous about the weeks ahead. The information, advice and resources available on the ERIC website helped me to prepare for and understand the process.
I genuinely don’t think I could have succeeded without ERIC. In particular, I found their podcasts on the topic of disimpaction invaluable! I am so grateful to the Bladder and Bowel team for directing me to ERIC, and I cannot thank ERIC enough for their amazing resources.
Healthier and happier
Following the disimpaction process, the difference in Matilda was evident; gone was her discomfort and avoidance of going to the toilet for the first time in years. Instead, Matilda has been healthier and happier than ever!
I never fully appreciated the importance of healthy bladder and bowel habits, and feel like it’s something we don’t talk about enough in our society. I now talk about wee and poo lots and recommend ERIC to all my friends!
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