If you have toddlers and small children at home, you probably have incidents where they fail to control their urge to poops. It is just normal for their age, but if it becomes habitual, then it could be a condition called encopresis also known as soiling or fecal incontinence.
What is the cause of encopresis in children? It is often a result of impacted stool in the colon and rectum. When such a thing happens, the colon becomes impacted and liquid stool begins to leak around the retained stool. It is the reason why you will notice poop stains in the underwear. If left untreated, it could lead to bowel distention and loss of bowel movement control.
Encopresis is observed in children who have already learned to use the toilet, typically at 4 years of age. Soiling is not a disease itself, but a clinical manifestation of an underlying condition, specifically long-standing constipation. In rare instances, it could also be linked to emotional issues.
Below are the clinical manifestations of encopresis
- Presence of stool or liquid stool stain on the underwear that looks like diarrhea
- Constipation/dry, hard stool
- Intentionally avoiding bowel movement
- Passage of large stool causing clog in the toilet
- Abdominal pain
- Loss of appetite
- Bed wetting
- Frequent bladder infections
When should you see your doctor?
Consult the doctor if your child is already toilet trained but manifests most of the symptoms mentioned above. The doctor will conduct a thorough assessment and determine the proper course of action. There are some things you can do to prevent the onset of encopresis, such as:
- Give your child a well-balanced meal, especially foods high in fiber and plenty of water.
- Apply effective toilet training method.
- Be mindful of the clinical manifestations of encopresis and you should seek treatment right away the moment you notice it.