Encopresis is the leakage of feces in children four years of age or older. This must occur at least once a month for at least three months to make a diagnosis. Children with primary or continuous encopresis have never developed control of their bowel movements. Children with secondary or discontinuous encopresis develop elimination problems after having had bowel control.


Encopresis affects 3% to 7% of school-age children and is much more common in boys than girls. Encopresis with constipation and overflow incontinence is the most common type. This type starts when children withhold bowel movements because of previously painful bowel movements, fear of the toilet, or not wanting to stop what they are doing to use the bathroom. Over time, this results in the loss of ...

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