"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Mental Health: Encopresis

Excretory disorders occur in children who’ve problems going to the bathroom – each bowel movements and urination. Although it shouldn’t be unusual for young children to have occasional “accidents,” it could actually be an issue if this behavior occurs repeatedly for greater than three months, especially in children over 5 years old.

There are two forms of excretory disorders: encopresis and enuresis.

  • Encopresis is the repeated leakage of feces into places aside from the bathroom, similar to in underwear or on the ground. This behavior may or will not be intentional.
  • Enuresisis repeated urination in places aside from the bathroom. Enuresis, which occurs at night, or bedwetting, is essentially the most common type of excretory disorder. As with encopresis, this behavior may or will not be intentional.

In addition to defecating in inappropriate places, a baby with encopresis can also produce other symptoms, including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • stomach pain
  • Soft, watery stools (bowel movements)
  • Scratching or rubbing within the anal area because of irritation from watery stools
  • Decreased interest in physical activity
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Mysterious behavior related to bowel movements

The most typical reason for encopresis is chronic (long-term) constipation, which is the shortcoming to pass stool from the intestines. This may be brought on by quite a lot of reasons, including stress, not drinking enough water (which makes bowel movements hard and difficult), and pain brought on by a sore in or near the anus.

When a baby is constipated, a big mass of feces is produced, which stretches the rectum. This stretching causes the nerve endings within the rectum to dull, and the kid may not feel the necessity to go to the lavatory or remember that waste is coming out. The mass of feces will also be affected – too large or too hard to pass without pain. Over time, the muscles that hold stool within the rectum can now not hold it back. Although the big, hard mass of feces cannot pass, loose or runny stool may leak across the affected mass and onto the kid's clothing.

Factors that may contribute to constipation include:

  • A low fiber weight-reduction plan
  • Lack of exercise
  • Fear or reluctance to make use of unfamiliar toilets, similar to public toilets
  • I don't take the time to go to the bathroom
  • changes in bathroom routine; for instance, planned bathroom breaks in school or summer camp

Another possible reason for encopresis is a physical problem related to the intestines' ability to maneuver stool. The child can also develop encopresis because of anxiety or frustration related to bathroom training. Stressful events within the child's life, similar to an illness within the family or the birth of a brand new sibling, can contribute to the disorder. In some cases, the kid simply refuses to make use of the bathroom.

Encopresis is fairly common, although many cases go unreported because of embarrassment to the kid and/or parents. It is estimated that between 1.5 and 10% of kids suffer from encopresis. It occurs more often in boys than in girls.

If symptoms of encopresis are present, the doctor will begin the assessment by conducting an entire medical history and physical examination. The doctor may perform certain tests, similar to X-rays, to rule out other possible causes of constipation, similar to intestinal disease. If no physical disorder is identified, the doctor will base the diagnosis on the kid's symptoms and current bowel habits.

The goal of encopresis treatment is to stop constipation and promote good bowel habits. Another essential a part of treatment is educating the kid and their family in regards to the disorder.

Treatment often begins with removing any fecal matter that has lodged within the colon, also often called the big intestine. The next step is to maintain the kid's stools soft and lightweight. In most cases, this may be achieved by changing the kid's weight-reduction plan, providing regular toileting, and inspiring or rewarding positive changes within the child's toileting habits. In more severe cases, the doctor may recommend using stool softeners or laxatives to scale back constipation. Psychotherapy (a type of counseling) could also be used to assist the kid take care of the shame, guilt, or lack of self-esteem related to the disorder.

A baby with encopresis is vulnerable to emotional and social problems related to the condition. They may develop self-esteem problems, grow to be depressed, perform poorly in class, and refuse to socialize with other children, including not wanting to go to parties or attend events that require an overnight stay. Teasing from friends and scolding from relations can increase the kid's self-esteem and contribute to the kid's social isolation. If the kid doesn’t develop good bowel habits, she or he may suffer from chronic constipation.

Encopresis tends to enhance because the child ages, although the issue may appear and disappear over years. The best results are achieved when all educational, behavioral and emotional issues are addressed. A baby should have the occasional accident until he regains muscle tone and control of his bowel movements.

Encopresis brought on by constipation can often be prevented by ensuring the kid drinks enough water and eats a high-fiber weight-reduction plan. Although it shouldn’t be all the time possible to stop encopresis, treatment as soon as symptoms appear might help reduce the frustration and stress in addition to the possible complications related to the disorder. Additionally, being positive and patient with a baby during toilet training might help prevent anxiety or negative feelings about toileting.