Encopresis is when stool leaks out onto the clothing. It is also known as “soiling.” Usually the child has no control over the leakage and is unaware of the soiling until it has already occurred. Most stool accidents are commonly mistaken as diarrhea. Encopresis is more commonly caused by prolonged and often unrecognized constipation. A hard stool develops and if the child cannot pass this bowel movement, it gets stuck. Future stool leaks out and causes the soiling. The child usually loses normal sensation in the rectum because it is so stretched out from constipation, which is why the child does not realize they are soiling themselves. Treatment is fairly simple and like regular constipation, it requires patience and time.

  • The first step is to clean out the system. Your gastroenterologist will help you find the best options.
  • After cleaning everything out you will need to use stool softeners. It is important that you use stool softeners and not laxatives because stool softeners can be used safely on a daily basis.
  • Bowel retaining is the most important step. This is when your child learns the normal sensations of having a regular bowel movement and you can resume a regular schedule for bowel movements using positive feedback.
  • The final step is to place the child on a high-fiber diet to ensure normal bowel function.

The gastrointestinal specialists at the GI Associates Clinic are well trained to work with children who have gastrointestinal problems. Call them today to make an appointment and to get your child back to a normal and healthy life.


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