Encopresis is in involuntary leaking of feces. The condition often is caused by chronic constipation. The board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists with Norton Children’s Gastroenterology, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, have the experience to treat encopresis in children.

What Is Encopresis?

Encopresis is when liquid or soft feces leak out of the rectum. Constipation can cause stool to be dry, hard and difficult to pass. Constipation can cause encopresis due to:

  • A large amount of stool becoming stuck in the rectum and large intestine (impaction)
  • Impacted stool stretching the rectum and intestine, causing them to become enlarged
  • The enlarged rectum and intestine lose the ability to detect when stool is moving, weakening the anal sphincter
  • Soft and/or liquid stool moves and leaks around the impacted stool, soiling underwear and clothes

Children with encopresis may be unaware they have had an accident until after it happens. For children who haven’t been toilet trained or refuse to make bowel movements, excess stool can build up and lead to constipation and encopresis.

Encopresis Treatment

Encopresis treatment depends on your child’s age, current health, symptoms and severity of the condition. The board-certified pediatric gastroenterologists with Norton Children’s Gastroenterology will work with you and your child to develop a unique care plan. Treatments may include:

  • Cleaning hard stool out of the lower colon
  • Helping to keep bowel movements soft so stool can pass easily
  • Toilet sitting twice a day (for appropriate ages)
  • Retraining the intestine and rectum to regain control of stool
  • Diet and exercise modifications

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