Please be patient! It may take up to ONE minute to load all the Engines.
Problems? Please contact our support.
Encopresis is the voluntary or involuntary passage of stools causing soiling of clothes by a child over 4 years of age. Otherwise known as overflow incontinence, encopresis results from chronic constipation.
See also bowel incontinence .
Causes, incidence, and risk factorsEncopresis can be divided into two groups. The first in which there is a physiologic basis for the encopresis, the second in which there seems to be an emotional basis.
Signs and tests
The goal is to prevent constipation and encourage good bowel habits. Laxatives, and sometimes enemas, are used to remove fecal impaction. A stool softener is often prescribed.
A diet high in fiber , including fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, and adequate fluid intake will promote the passage of softer stools and minimize the discomfort associated with bowel movements.
Expectations (prognosis)Most children respond to treatment.
ComplicationsThe child may suffer from low self-esteem and peer disapproval related to this problem. If routine bowel habits are not developed, the child may suffer from chronic constipation.
Calling your health care providerCall for an appointment with your health care provider if this behavior is noted in a child over 4 years old.
PreventionBecause the causes often are obscure prevention is difficult. As a general rule, refrain from too early and too coercive toilet training.
Update Date: 10/30/2003Philip L. Graham III, M.D., M.S., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Children's Hospital of New York, Columbia University, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT