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How to deal with encopresis

by

Dr Kimberley O'Brien

How to deal with encopresis

In this episode of Impressive, Dr Kimberley O’Brien discusses encopresis, or faecal soiling, with toilet training educator Monica Ferrie.

Monica kicks off the episode by explaining that encopresis occurs when there’s a build-up of poo and the bowel stretches until the rectum loses sensitivity. The child then doesn’t know when they need to poo until some of the impacted poo slips out. 

When Dr Kimberley points out that Monica is much more comfortable talking about this topic than the families who come to consult at Quirky Kid about it, Monica says embarrassment is a common theme surrounding encopresis. Families assume they’re the only ones dealing with this problem when it’s in fact quite common.

Further Reading

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Enconpresis in school aged children

With the encopresis fact sheet being the most popular one on Quirky Kid’s website and the number of families consulting for encopresis increasing, Dr Kimberley agrees it’s a much more common problem than people realise.

Monica points out that encopresis isn’t deliberate and that the first line of intervention should be to deal with the constipation with plenty of fluids, fibre, sitting on the toilet and stool softeners if necessary. 

Both Dr Kimberley and Monica agree that a team approach involving the child’s psychologist, GP and teacher is key when treating encopresis. Dr Kimberley underlines the importance of getting help early and giving children independence and control over their toileting at home and at school.

It’s also important for parents to have support and for a system to be put in place to deal with encopresis so it doesn’t affect the whole family. While encopresis isn’t always easy, families can overcome this issue and thrive with the right help and support.

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What encopresis is
  • How to treat encopresis
  • The importance of a team approach in dealing with encopresis
  • Why the whole family needs support

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