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Pediatric Fecal Incontinence

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Last updated June 11, 2022

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What is pediatric fecal incontinence?

Fecal incontinence is when a child has accidental bowel movements. One type of fecal incontinence, called encopresis, occurs when a child resists having a bowel movement. This eventually can lead impacted stool to collect in the large intestine, and when that happens, liquid stool can leak around the impacted stool and out through the anus.

Other causes of fecal incontinence include medical conditions like chronic constipation or conditions a child is born with that may disrupt bowel control like spina bifida.

Treatment

You should visit your pediatrician, as fecal incontinence may be caused by dietary issues (such as not drinking enough water or eating foods rich in fiber) or also by behavioral or emotional issues.

Your doctor will be able to coordinate care with a doctor who specializes in digestive disorders in children (pediatric gastroenterologist), or a mental health provider, if needed.

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Dr. Rothschild has been a faculty member at Brigham and Women’s Hospital where he is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He currently practices as a hospitalist at Newton Wellesley Hospital. In 1978, Dr. Rothschild received his MD at the Medical College of Wisconsin and trained in internal medicine followed by a fellowship in critical care medicine. He also received an MP...
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