Encopresis is when a child soils their clothes, despite the fact they are already toilet trained. To the child this can be very embarrassing, and to the parents it can be very frustrating. Most parents do not understand why their child is doing this, especially when they have put so much time and effort into toilet training.
There are two reasons why this can happen. The first is due to medical reasons, and the second to emotional. The cause of Encopresis is due to constipation. Constipation causes the child’s stools to be hard, so therefore when they pass them it can be very painful for them. This pain creates a reluctance in the child to go to the toilet when they need to, therefore the child becomes more constipated. A vicious circle.
When a large stool stays in their back passage, it causes the walls in the rectum to weaken and stretch. This is the reason for the soiling. Watery stools can leak from around the hard stool that is blocked there. The child cannot help it, and may not even realise it has happened.
The reasons for constipation in a child can be many poor diet, not going to the toilet when they need to, poor toilet training and sometimes it can be anxiety due to emotional issues. These emotional issues can include problems at school, at home or even sharing a bathroom where the child feels anxious they are going to be interrupted when on the toilet
Encopresis tends to be more common in boys.