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What is encopresis like?

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Things to know about encopresis:

  • As the colon stretches more and more, the child loses the natural urge to pass a bowel movement.
  • Eventually, looser, partly formed stool from higher up in the intestine leaks around the large collection of harder, more formed stool at the bottom of the colon (rectum) and then leaks out of the anus.
  • Often in the beginning, only small amounts of stool leak out, producing streaks in the child’s underwear. Typically, parents assume the child isn’t wiping very well after passing a bowel movement and aren't concerned.
  • As time goes on, the child is less and less able to hold the stool in -- more and more stool leaks, and eventually the child passes entire bowel movements into his or her underwear.
  • Often the child is not aware that he or she has passed a bowel movement.
  • Because the stool is not passing normally through the colon, it often becomes very dark and sticky and may have a very foul smell.

From: Encopresis WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCE:

American Academy of Pediatrics.

American College of Gastroenterology.

UpToDate.com: "Chronic functional constipation and fecal incontinence in infants and children: Treatment."

 

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on May 10, 2019

SOURCE:

American Academy of Pediatrics.

American College of Gastroenterology.

UpToDate.com: "Chronic functional constipation and fecal incontinence in infants and children: Treatment."

 

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on May 10, 2019

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How can encopresis affect a child?

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