Encopresis (Fecal Soiling)

What Is It?

Encopresis is when a child who is toilet trained passes stool (bowel movements) into his or her underwear. To have encopresis, the child must be at least four years old, the age by which most children can control bowel movements. Encopresis is also called fecal incontinence.

In most children, encopresis is related to chronic constipation. Constipation is when bowel movements don't occur often enough. Also, the stool is hard and dry.

When stool needs to be passed, it collects in the lower bowel (rectum). There, it stretches the bowel wall. This feeling of the bowel being stretched is what normally makes us realize we have to go to the bathroom.

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