Fecal incontinence in children, causes, treatment

Problems with fecal incontinence in children 10 years old can cause serious psychological problems, emotional tightness. Because of this, the child’s adaptation in society, in particular in school, is deteriorating. There is a solution to this problem.

For children in the first two or three years of life, fecal incontinence or encopresis is normal, in older ones this indicates the presence of different pathologies in the work of organ systems.

When observing this problem, it is important to seek the help of a specialist who will make a diagnosis and identify the causes. Therapy will be prescribed after diagnosis.

Key violation information

The disease occurs in 1–5% of all children. Most often these are boys and girls aged 5–8 years, less often older. As a rule, this is a symptom of a malfunction of the nervous system or a sign of other changes in the body. In girls, it is rare. The disease occurs in 30–35% of enuresis sufferers.

Often adults, having noticed a problem with their bowel movements in a child, delay a visit to the doctor, believing that the problem will be solved. However, encopresis is a sign of a serious illness requiring urgent treatment, since it also affects the psyche of a growing child.

Children with this disease are difficult to adapt in the team. They become objects of ridicule for a long time, and even after things get better. Toddlers with fecal incontinence are insulted, humiliated by relatives who are ashamed and indignant at the sight of soiled linen. So only the problem is exacerbated.

Adults note: in no case do not need to scold the child for difficulties in defecation. You should look for the cause and help him get rid of the problem.

Fecal incontinence in children: causes and treatment of incontinence

The cause of fecal incontinence in children from 8 to 10 years old lies in psychological problems.

The main reasons for the true character encopresis in a child are:

  1. Emotional shock. Children are more likely than adults to experience the loss of loved ones, friends, pets, difficult events such as accidents, separation of parents, violence.
  2. Change of habitual environment. The first days at school, moving, separation from parents for a certain period, etc.
  3. Pathologies of a neurological nature. Epilepsy, spinal cord infection or trauma, disorders of the autonomic nervous system, cerebral palsy.
  4. Injuries to the back, head. They lead to malfunctions in the transmission of pulses, allowing you to control the bowel movement.
  5. Anomalies that occurred in the womb associated with a violation of the structure of the anorectal part of the large intestine. In this case, Hirschsprung’s disease is implied.
  6. Injuries during childbirth, problematic bearing. Abnormal bowel movements occur in children with a history of hypoxia, a congenital injury to the spine and head. There are risks when the mother in the perinatal period was sick with infectious diseases, rubella, herpes, measles, and also when she had bad habits, took drugs that are not allowed for pregnant women.
  7. Adverse family situation. Children growing up in a dysfunctional family suffer from humiliation, assault, and abuse. However, a situation that negatively affects the psyche of a child often develops in families that seem to be prosperous.
  8. Inability to go to the toilet correctly. Not a rare occurrence for kids from dysfunctional families.

False encopresis in children has such causes:

  1. Chronic constipation A common cause of incontinence. The feces collected in the intestine presses on the anus, which is stretched, loses sensitivity. Liquid masses seep out at this moment.
  2. Numerous reasons provoked by the environment or personal problems associated with health, emotional state. It happens that in educational institutions, toilets have poor repair, without partitions. Some children are embarrassed to defecate there. When the bowel movement causes pain, the child holds the feces. After this, the walls are stretched, lose sensitivity, which causes uncontrolled ingestion of feces on underwear.

In most cases, the problem exists during wakefulness; during sleep, it does not exist. Fecal bed incontinence in a child is a rare phenomenon, indicating the presence of neurological and mental problems. This form is an unfavorable prognostic sign.

Forms and types of disease in children
Depending on the cause of the disease Neurotic disorder The most common type of incontinence. It is associated with various kinds of mental disorders that have arisen due to psychological trauma: violence, constant stress. Despite the confidence of adults, this kind of deviations do not disappear on their own, they only soften over time and become invisible. Children with this problem need psychological help and support.
Organic disturbance This variety includes encopresis caused by organic malfunctions in the systems and organs that are responsible for the bowel movement. This is the large intestine, sphincter, brain and spinal cord. More often the disease occurs in children with congenital disorders, less often with acquired ones.
By term of education Primary pathology Unformed reflex mechanism responsible for the bowel movement. It arises from the lack of attention, adult education, imperfections of a physical and mental nature, complicating communication with a child – deafness, blindness, developmental retardation.
Secondary pathology Violation of the normally working reflex mechanism due to malfunctions in the body.
Depending on the development mechanism False Encopres It has a relationship with persistent constipation or with the intentional retention of feces.
True Encopres Includes all possible cases arising from malfunctions in the function of transmission of nerve impulses. This species is rare.

When a child’s ailment is associated with constipation, adults see his signs:

  • the child rarely, with pain, goes to the toilet, complains of bowel movements, experiences discomfort in the stomach;
  • with prolonged current constipation, weakness appears, appetite disappears, nausea appears, the child complains of pain in the abdomen, head, sleeps problematically.

In an environment, an environment where they show love and care for each other, children talk about their problems right away, for this reason constipation does not become chronic, except in cases associated with organic disorders.

Encopresis in a child gives itself out differently. In most cases, traces of feces remain on the laundry. A single or several times inconsistent incontinence, having clear reasons, should not bother an adult. For example, a child enthusiastically played active games and did not have time to react in time to urges.

Neurotic incontinence has the following symptoms characteristic of mental disabilities:

  • poor sleep, insomnia;
  • apathy;
  • fears, anxieties;
  • bad mood;
  • aggression, irritability;
  • deterioration in overall health;
  • detachment, isolation;
  • lack of interest in your favorite games, activities;
  • violation of concentration;
  • fast fatiguability;
  • poor school performance.

Some symptoms may be absent. It all depends on the type of violation and its cause.

You need to talk about pathology when fecal incontinence occurs in a child at least once a month for six months.

When an encopresis is accompanied by enuresis in a child, this indicates psychological reasons. In rare cases, this is the presence of organic pathology. As a rule, enuresis occurs at night, and encopresis occurs during the day.


The main task of diagnosis is to find the disease that affected the appearance of the pathology, for its effective elimination, mitigation. The specialist talks with parents, the child, finds out details about nutrition, symptoms, pregnancy and childbirth, then makes a diagnosis.

Based on the symptomatic picture, additional examinations are carried out:

  • large bowel image;
  • examination of the rectal area;
  • magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and spine;
  • X-ray of the spine;
  • clinical analysis of blood, urine.

Diagnose fecal incontinence pediatrician and gastroenterologist. If necessary, the child is examined, consults with a psychotherapist or psychiatrist.

Methods for treating the disease

After a child is diagnosed, the following treatment methods are used:

  • exercises that can strengthen the muscles of the buttocks, abs, hips. The attending physician prescribes a complex that makes the sphincter stronger;
  • diet. For the normal functioning of the intestines, the child begins to eat foods with fiber in large quantities: fruits, herbs, vegetables. It is not recommended to eat foods high in starch, sugar: pasta, bakery products, potatoes, sweets. It is important for a child to drink plenty of plain water;
  • enemas. They help get rid of congestive feces, formed due to frequent constipation. In the absence of failures in the functioning of the rectum, enemas are used a certain number of times. In some cases, a specialist prescribes enemas for training the sphincter. About a half liter of liquid, the child is injected into the anus, and he, holding the sphincter, holds it;
  • of medicines, the doctor prescribes laxatives, drugs that calm the nervous system. Among them, it is worth highlighting Microlax, Dufalac, Persen, Valerian;
  • consultations, treatment prescribed by a psychotherapist. The doctor determines the causes of the disease, helps to solve mental problems, get rid of the experiences associated with difficult events, look at the situation from all sides. In addition, the specialist will talk with parents and give them advice. If the outcome is the same, there will be no change for the better, parents need to get rid of all the factors that traumatize the psyche of their children.

In the treatment of incontinence, folk approaches can be used, in particular, use herbal teas that positively affect the condition of the child. Melissa, mint, chamomile, motherwort, valerian calm the nervous system, help to defecate.

Tips to help normalize the work of the reflex mechanism:

  1. After eating, the child is seated on the toilet to strain the sphincter for a certain time. This action provides an incentive for the normal functioning of intestinal motility. The child masters the skills of controlling bowel movements, feels the urge.
  2. It is important to observe a certain regimen during bowel movements. The main number of problems associated with the work of the intestine disappears when the child goes to the toilet at a certain time.
  3. It is not necessary to force the child to go to the toilet, since this negatively affects the psyche. It is recommended to him in a calm environment to explain the principle of the intestines and tell about the importance of adhering to the regimen by children.

To reduce the likelihood of the formation of such an ailment as encopresis, it is recommended:

  • to do everything so that the home atmosphere is comfortable and friendly;
  • It is necessary to discuss the disease in a calm tone so that the child does not experience complexes;
  • to establish the work of the reflex mechanism;
  • if you notice feces on your underpants, do not scold the child for it;
  • establish nutrition, give more fruits and vegetables.

The disease of the advanced form is difficult to treat. At the first sign, it is worth taking the child to a specialist for a consultation. Timely treatment started gives a good prognosis.

Dietary nutrition for encopresis

Since fecal incontinence is mainly due to persistent constipation, diet helps prevent stool in the large intestine. A child with this ailment is recommended to eat:

  • dairy products;
  • beets, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower;
  • berries, greens;
  • fish, low fat meat;
  • oatmeal and other cereals;
  • honey;
  • dried apricots, prunes;
  • fruits.

To prevent constipation, you need to drink plenty of water. Salads are best seasoned with vegetable oil.

Physical exercises with encopresis in children

With fecal incontinence, the child needs to do special physical exercises. This is a simple gymnastics that allows you to strengthen the muscles of the sphincter, peritoneum and pelvic floor.

In some cases, the doctor prescribes a procedure that can strengthen the sphincter: a tube of rubber is inserted into the anus of the child to a depth of about 3 cm. After that, the specialist gives a command to compress and relax the muscles. Also, the child needs to hold the tube while moving, using the rectal muscles to push the object. A course of strengthening exercises is carried out for three weeks. The duration of the charge itself is approximately 15 minutes.

In addition, you need to do therapeutic exercises with squats, jumps. With fecal incontinence, strength training is prohibited.

To strengthen the muscular system of the sphincter, special enemas of a gentle nature are made. It uses chamomile infusion: two glasses of water per one tablespoon of the plant. A warm solution is introduced into the anus of the child, and he holds it for as long as possible. In turn, you can move.

Psychotherapy for children

In case of a chronic violation of defecation in a student, it is imperative and important to consult a psychologist. It helps to understand the reasons that caused the encopresis. The doctor helps to convince the child of the uncritical situation that it happens, that it’s not scary. Faced with this problem needs the help of a psychologist to help improve the nervous state. Also, the psychologist talks with parents, directs them in the right direction.

In some cases, consulting a good specialist can help you eliminate the problem of incontinence. Having adopted the doctor’s recommendations, using them in life, organizing a favorable environment in the house, making close friends with the child, parents help him.

When encopresis, be sure to visit a psychologist. Help is to deal with traumatic causes, providing the necessary support.


Incontinence problems in children of ten years can cause serious psychological problems, emotional tightness. Because of this, the child’s adaptation in society, in particular in school, is deteriorating. The most advanced cases can cause disability. With this problem, parents should in no case be indifferent. It is worth recognizing the disease in a timely manner, consult a pediatrician, start treatment.

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