How to Treat Soiling?

  • January 03, 2024
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How to Treat Soiling?

What is Soiling?

Soiling, also recognized as encopresis or functional fecal incontinence, entails the involuntary release of stool in inappropriate locations by children who have surpassed the age of toilet training. This condition extends beyond occasional accidents, evolving into a persistent issue that significantly influences a child's social and emotional well-being. Typically occurring in children aged 4 and older, particularly those previously toilet trained, encopresis presents itself as the unintentional passage of stool into a child's underwear. This phenomenon exhibits a higher prevalence among boys compared to girls, impacting around 1% to 4% of 4-year-old children. As children mature, the incidence of encopresis tends to decrease.

Why Does Soiling Occur?

Soiling can be caused by a variety of factors, both physical and psychological. One common cause is chronic constipation, where the child avoids passing stools due to pain or discomfort, leading to a backup of stool in the colon. This can result in leakage of liquid stool around the impacted mass, causing soiling. Emotional factors such as stress, anxiety, or fear can also contribute to the development or persistence of soiling.

How Does Soiling Affect Children?

The impact of soiling on children can be significant and multifaceted. Physically, chronic constipation and the associated soiling can lead to abdominal pain, discomfort, and other digestive issues. Socially, children may experience embarrassment, shame, and isolation due to their soiling accidents. This can result in a reluctance to participate in social activities and a decline in self-esteem. Additionally, soiling can strain the parent-child relationship as parents may struggle to understand and address the issue effectively.