Encopresis: A Knowhow

What is Encopresis?

If your child is 4 years old or more and he/she is still unable to control his/her bowel movement, then it may be a point of concern and this condition is called Encopresis and it is recognized when children soil their underwear involuntarily.

The soiling happens because soft stool leaks around properly formed stool inside the colon. Medical professionals do not consider Encopresis a medical condition until a child is 4 years or more. Encopresis is also known as paradoxical diarrhea and the term is specifically for children; when the occurrence is in adults the condition is termed as fecal soiling or fecal leakage.

encopresis a knowhowCauses and Symptoms of Encopresis

Encopresis is caused mainly because of chronic constipation. But there are quite a few reasons for constipation and the most common ones are:

  • Inadequate intake of fiber in a kid’s diet
  • Not drinking enough water or fluids
  • Sometimes constipation is hereditary
  • In some cases it is caused when kids do not want to release feces and that creates an irregularity in their bowel movement.

Treatment for Encopresis

There are different treatment methods that has been developed to cure encopresis; however the primary steps towards the treatment of this condition involves the following –

  • Keeping the stool filled colon empty
  • Get the practice of soft, regular and painless bowel passage.
  • Maintaining regular bowel practice.

When the child suffers from chronic encopresis, doctors aim at a combination of behavioral therapy and medications like enema and suppositories to treat the problem. You can also use a mild laxative that will help the child have a smooth and regular bowel movement. You can offer them a reward if they regularize their bowel movement and not defer the process.

Explain to them that if they do not release themselves and hold the feces in them for a long time then the process will become more painful for them. The more regular the process, the better it is for the kids. Some children do not want to excrete because they would rather spend time playing. But it is your (a parent’s) responsibility to tell them that bowel movement is a hygienic need and they will need to incorporate some discipline in this regard in their day to day life.

Dietary Rules for Encopresis

Dietary changes are vital to be executed to manage encropresis. Here are some recommended changes for encopresis caused due to constipation –

  •  Avoid foods like peanuts, dairy items, bananas and cooked carrots.
  • Increase the intake of whole wheat products, bran, fruits and vegetables.
  • Liquid and fluid intake should be more; lots of water and juices are recommended.
  • Abstain from cola drinks, caffeine and tea.
  • Avoid fast foods that are high in sugars and fat; instead eat well balanced meals.
  • Whole milk intake should be 500 mL (16.9 ounces) for the child over of 2 years and above each day; do not avoid milk altogether.

Encopresis Follow-up

Since Encopresis is not considered a typical medical condition, the doctor will probably not prescribe any medicine for this condition. The medicines might be given for treating constipation. However, the doctor must diagnose your child once a month to see if the bowel movement has been regularized. This will ensure if something needs to be altered or changed in the treatment.