Pediatric Encopresis

Encopresis occurs when the colon becomes too full and liquid stool (bowel impaction) involuntarily leaks into the underwear. Encopresis is sometimes mistaken for diarrhea.


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What is Pediatric Encopresis?

Also known as soiling or fecal incontinence, encopresis is the repeated, involuntary leaking of stool into a child’s underwear. In most cases, encopresis occurs due to chronic (long-term) constipation. When the colon and rectum become too full of impacted stool (as in constipation), liquid stool leaks around the impact, out of the rectum and into the underwear. 

Encopresis is typically diagnosed in children age 4 or older, after they’ve been toilet trained.

What are the signs and symptoms of Pediatric Encopresis?

How is Pediatric Encopresis diagnosed?

  • Abdominal x-ray
  • Barium enema

What are the causes of Pediatric Encopresis?

Chronic constipation is the typical cause of encopresis. Much less frequently, emotional issues can cause encopresis.

  • Anal sphincter nerve damage
  • Colonic inertia
  • Fear of using a toilet
  • Rectal infections/tears
  • Stress 

How is Pediatric Encopresis treated?

  • Diet and lifestyle change
  • Enema
  • Intestinal/rectum retraining
  • Removing impacted stool

All treatment options should be discussed with your child's healthcare provider first. 

Pediatric Encopresis Doctors and Providers