Encopresis is a condition characterized by the inappropriate passing of stool, and most often results from chronic constipation. Children are the most likely demographic to develop encopresis, and their untimely bowel movements may be voluntary or involuntary. Two out of 100 children experience encopresis, so the condition is not at all uncommon. Though stressful for both child and parent, acute harm is rare and most children overcome encopresis without long-lasting damage. With proper intervention, encopresis is entirely treatable.
Encopresis or soiling typically develops in toilet-trained children aged four and older. Prolonged constipation leads to impacted feces in the colon, which, in turn, results in leakage and accidents. Though less common, a child might also defecate somewhere inappropriate, such as the floor. Most cases of encopresis in children are involuntary, occurring because a child has repeatedly avoided using the toilet. Voluntary encopresis is less common and usually involves an underlying behavioral disorder.
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