Encopresis is the soiling of the underwear with stool by children who are past the age of toilet training. Because each child achieves bowel control at his or her own pace, medical professionals do not consider stool soiling to be a medical condition unless the child is at least 4 years of age. This stool or fecal soiling usually has a physical origin and is involuntary, the child does not soil on purpose. In the majority of cases, the soiling is the result of loose or soft stool leaking around more formed stool trapped inside the colon.
Being unable to hold stool before getting to a toilet (bowel incontinence)
Passing stool in inappropriate places (as in the child's clothes)
Keeping bowel movements a secret
Having constipation and hard stools Sometimes passing a very large stool that almost blocks the toilet
The doctor may feel the stool stuck in the child’s rectum (fecal impaction). An x-ray of the child’s belly may show impacted stool in the colon.
Treatments may include any of the following:
Giving the child laxatives or enemas to remove dry, hard stool. Giving the child stool softeners. Having the child eat a diet high in fiber (fruits, vegetables, whole grains) and drink plenty of fluids to keep the stools soft and comfortable. Taking flavored mineral oil for a short period of time. This is only a short-term treatment because mineral oil interferes with the absorption of calcium and vitamin D. Seeing a pediatric gastroenterologist when these treatments aren't enough. The doctor may use biofeedback, or teach the parents and child how to manage encopresis