It can be quite embarrassing for a child beyond the toilet training age to soil his underwear. Parents might consider this as a childhood nuisance. But when kids soil their pants, it is possible that the child is suffering from encopresis. Nearly 1 to 2 percent kids below 10 years suffer from encopresis. To make matters worse, constant embarrassment, humiliation and fear of punishment are responsible for low self-confidence among kids suffering from encopresis. If your child is prone to soiling his underwear, instead of rebuking him, you should take him to a pediatrician who could help the kid overcome his problem.
Causes of encopresis
Encopresis usually develops from chronic constipation. Often there is no apparent reason for the constipation, a condition known as functional constipation. Constipation not only causes irregular bowel movement, but it also causes pain while passing the feces. A constipated child would pass stool infrequently, perhaps once in three days or even lesser than that. The stool becomes extremely hard and dry. The child would find it extremely difficult to pass the stool.
The pain the child experiences while passing the stool, makes the child reluctant to excrete. Overtime reluctance to pass bowel becomes a habit. This habit exists even after the constipation has been cured. The more the child holds in the stool, the volume of stool accumulating in the lower intestine increases, stretching the colon. The more the colon stretches, the volume of stool held in it increases, and the child will no longer feel the urge to pass bowel naturally. The loose stool present on the top of the lower intestine would leak into the rectum and pass out of the anus.
If encopresis persists for a long period, coordinated movement of the muscles associated with bowel movement will be disturbed.
Encopresis is a preventable condition. As soon as you notice symptoms of constipation, give your child a mild laxative to soften the bowel. Although children are fussy eaters, make sure to add adequate dietary fiber rich fruits, vegetables and whole grain products in your child’s diet. Make sure that your child drinks plenty of water and fluids throughout the day. Encourage your child to exercise. Help your child to develop a regular bathroom habit. Make sure that he sits in the toilet for at least fifteen minutes everyday.