Constipation and Fecal Soiling (Encopresis): How We Treat

How is constipation and fecal soiling treated?

The focus of treatment for children with constipation is changing the child's behavior and making sure the child is not afraid of having a bowel movement. If necessary, diet changes are also made, sometimes with the help of a registered dietician. Often medications are used for a period of time to help retrain the bowel. Generally a combination of medications are used which may include stool softeners, stimulants, enemas or suppositories to remove any impacted stool and help a child have more regular bowel movements.

For the child with fecal soiling, treatment is more extensive. It often begins with a bowel cleanout followed by a program that is designed to empty the colon on a daily basis. For some children, the colon has been stretched out and it can take up to a year before it regains its original size and shape. Most children respond well to treatment and after a period of rehabilitation have normal bowel movements without soiling.

Why choose Children's Hospital Colorado for your child's constipation?

The treatment for children with fecal soiling requires sensitivity to the child's emotional needs. Children are often embarrassed and do not feel comfortable talking about their stool problem. Providers at Children's Colorado are skilled at communicating with children around sensitive matters. Learn more about the Digestive Health Institute