Autism: It’s about the poop!

By Lisa Ackerman


If it’s your snack time or you are bothered by a conversation about bowel movements, this blog is not for you. If you have a child living with autism – welcome to the most discussed topic (no matter what, try to enjoy your food!!)

A new study supports what thousands of parents have reported numerous times. Here is an excerpt of the findings:

 Scientists say the finding shows the essential role gut bacteria plays in the development of normal social behavior and they point out that gut problems are common in people with autism, a disorder characterized by alterations in social behavior.

Professor Ted Dinan, professor of psychiatry and a principal investigator in the Alimentary Pharmabiotic Centre (APC) at UCC, said they had been studying the influence of gut bacteria on the brain for years and they had already established that the serotonin system, which plays a role in regulating mood, “doesn’t develop properly if you don’t have enough bacteria in the gut”.

In 2012, TACA provided over 15,000 incidences of support to families living with autism. The number one support question and besides autism is about gastrointestinal issues.  Parents can read more about the signs, symptoms, testing and treatments available (2).

You may think that I am obsessed with poop. You’d be right.  I’ll say it again:  Almost all roads related to autism lead to it. Ok, call me a “poop peeper.”

I am grateful for the American Academy of Pediatrics in recognizing the importance of gastrointestinal issues plaguing many that are diagnosed with autism. Their findings were released in 2010. Their study and consensus report (3) is driving more treatment for individuals suffering with issues that can be effectively treated.

In less than 2 years, we have covered key gastrointestinal and autism research on this blog:

As parents, we often wonder: Does the window close? Is it too late? The answer is never (4). Parents can investigate and start treatments today.

Now if you pardon me, I am going to see if Talk about curing BAD POOP is available as a trademark.

On a serious note, we are glad the science speaks for itself.



8 thoughts on “Autism: It’s about the poop!

Add yours

  1. Which type is the preferred poop that confirms we are on the right track? What do the different types indicate…1 and 7 are obvious, but what about 2-6?

  2. my daughter has autism, but her megacolon/encopresis is consuming our lives. She’s 6 and a half and only ONCE in her life has she been able to get a bowel movement in the toilet without inducing it with an enema. we’ve done 4 cleanouts, 3 xrays, manometry, and we’re doing a spinal MRI later this week. GI doc says it could take 6 months to 2 years for her to regain sensation in her rectum once we can maintain a cleanout and keep everything moving normally. She was pooping 12-15 times a day— all new poops around an impaction– never in a toilet. I HOPE to have her toilet trained by age 9 but I’m not sure that’s possible. Miralax was a disaster so now we do 2-3 enemas a week. we’re TRYING to get down to one enema a week but she cannot produce a normal sized bowel movement without one. I’d love to connect with other moms going through this–I worry about enema dependence and regaining impaction by cutting down on enema use, etc….- you can email me at

      1. we’re in Cleveland and have one of the best GI docs in Cleveland. We got down to one poop a day for a week or so but today after 4 poops in a pullup I gave her an enema thinking I could get a chunk of impaction out and all I got were 3 diahhreas (ONE was in the toilet, thank God— she’s willing to sit on the toilet after enemas). She’s now on exlax, align, and metamucil daily. But just this week insurance agreed to pay for the exact size and brand of pullups we want— so…. small victory? 🙂

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