Shriners Children's provides specialty care for children with encopresis.
The goal of our colorectal and gastrointestinal specialty services is to provide children with anal-rectal disorders advanced care and rehabilitation that frees them from social stigma and allows them to live and play like other children.
What is Encopresis?
Encopresis is constipation caused when impacted stool collects in the colon and rectum. Encopresis typically occurs in children with the ability to toilet train, but who have developed severe, chronic constipation, which leads to stools that are infrequent or hard to pass. It can also occur in children with anatomical abnormalities that lead to developing constipation. While most of these children have the ability to control their bowel movements, they become so constipated that stool impacts and then overflows.
What Are the Symptoms of Encopresis?
- Leakage of stool or liquid stool on underwear, which can be mistaken for diarrhea
- Constipation with dry, hard stool
- Passage of large stool that clogs or almost clogs the toilet
- Avoidance of bowel movements
- Long periods of time between bowel movements
- Lack of appetite
- Stomach pain
- Problems with daytime wetting or bedwetting (enuresis)
- Repeated bladder infections, typically in girls
How We Care For Encopresis
Treatment is focused on preventing constipation and can be done through diet and medications. In some cases a bowel management program can be used to identify the correct medication dosage, and rarely, in very severe cases, surgery may be needed to help normalize bowel function and help prevent soiling.
The good news is that with patience, encouragement and the right treatment, most children can develop good bowel control and live normal lives.
We provide follow-up care to monitor your child’s health, prevent problems, manage symptoms and give your child the best quality of life.
Specific treatments and services may vary by location. Please contact a specific location for more information.
Understanding Your Child's Colorectal and Gastrointestinal (GI) Appointment(s)
On the first visit, parents and children typically come for a group overview and educational presentation about bowel management. Our doctors and nurses explain the medicines, enemas and diets we use as treatment options. Each family has a one-on-one clinic visit with a provider from the program to make a plan for their child.
If referred to one of our locations for a more complex condition or surgery, you and your child go directly to the one-on-one visit with one of our providers to build an individualized plan of care.
Sometimes, when deemed appropriate, your child may have a bowel X-ray. This helps us with diagnoses and to check how your child’s care plan is progressing. A nurse from our program will talk with you either in person or by phone to discuss your child’s results.
Our goal is for your child to empty their bowel daily with no accidents and to live with as few limitations as possible. Success depends on your child’s condition and following your plan closely.
How We Support Your Child’s Total Health and Well-Being
Families and patients say that Shriners Children’s feels like home to them, and it's no wonder to us. We know that a child's needs go beyond the physical. Our care teams support their social, emotional and developmental health with patient programs and activities.
A few examples include:
- Child life enrichment
- Creative arts
- Live entertainment
- Music therapy
- On-site public schooling
- Pet therapy
- School and community re-entry program
- Specialty camps
- Therapeutic recreation
Our care team was really amazing. The doctors gave so much thought to Mathew’s different treatment options, so that he could live like any other kid.