Help with Encopresis and incontinence (7 year old son)

[deleted account] ( 6 moms have responded )

My 7 year old son struggles with chronic encopresis and incontinence. It's not that he's been potty trained and regressed, he's just never been able to control his bowels. We've taken him to a GI specialist and he's done tests up the wazoo. The DR says there's definitely muscle deterioration and possible nerve damage but that it's impossible to know whether this is the cause of the encopresis or a result of his megacolon and years of fecal impaction.

I am so frustrated. I feel like a failure as a Mom. My other 2 kids had no issues with potty training and I'm at my whits end. I'm so afraid he'll get teased at school because of the smell (he wears a diaper or pullup to 2nd grade and has absolutely no control over his BMs).

He was potty trained for pee for awhile, but then got lazy. I guess he figured since he had to wear a pullup anyhow why bother going to the bathroom to pee.

What do I do? Is anybody else going through this?

There are some emotional issues and other things (our marriage has been shaky and we were separated for awhile; now back together but still shaky). The DR said that sometimes upheaval and change in the home and school can affect this condition as well.

I heard about Hirschsprung's (? spelling) and it sounded similar to what he's gone through, but the DR said the only way to diagnose that would be a biopsy and he wasn't sure he wanted to try that. But we've been seeing the specialist for a year and a half already and no change that I can see.

Any advice?

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[deleted account]

My daughter is 7 years old and has Spina Bifida (her spinal cord didn't grow all the way down), for anyone who didn't know what it is. She is completely bladder/bowel incontinent. She is now trying medication for her bladder, of course you can't do that until you have a definate diagnosis, but my daughter is also at an age of wanting to get out of diapers and into underwear. There are Tena pads, which you place like a maxi pad into underwear, they don't have children sizes, but they will fit in a 7-8 years underwear. Also, Coloplast has an anal plug (its like a very small tampon for the bum)which helps hold in BM's until a more descreet moment, instead of accidents. You can talk to your Peds about using them with a child, because I'm not sure if you should or not, and depending on where you live you can contact Coloplast and/or Tena and they will send you samples to try.

Does your son have numbness or tingles in his legs? I only ask because that would be more of an indication of nerve problems.

Good luck, I pray you get answers soon.

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6 Comments

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Perdale - posted on 08/14/2013

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I need help with this issue. My 4year old goes constantly in his clothes pull up etc. he was a preemie and i figured he was just late however he urinate fine in the bathroom . He just been disgnosed ADHD combined types. And im so lost as how to help him. Any sdvice?? What did you all do??? And how are your kids now???

Shayla - posted on 06/28/2009

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Hi. I hope things are getting along better with your son. Mine has a similar issue although never diagnosed as encopresis. We have been able to control the bowel for the most part but he still has bladder issues daily - it gets tiresome. For the bowel, our Doctor reccomded retraining the bowel by placing him on a potty schedule. Say - every 1/2 hour he had to go - whether he wanted to or not. Then, slowly work the time further apart. Because you noticed that he has issues when active - perhaps he should go prior to activity. This is a lot of work and they can't just go, they have to give it time (say 5 minutes). Good luck.

Michele - posted on 06/28/2009

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I noticed your posts were old but we are having the same issues. My 7 yr old son is having multiple accidents in his pants everyday. Then he doessn't feel it until I smell him. His is also soft and liquid. He sits on the pot but little comes out but liquid. His bottom seems irritated and burns sometimes. We put creams on it. Back in Jan. we had tried some new meds dor ADHD and I thought maybe they irritated hs bowels.We stopped them all quickly when I noticed his bottom was irritated. We even gave him worm meds because he was so itchy. Nothing helped.

He does have a brain immune antibodies issue called PANDAS and I wonder if the brain inflammation has also led to this. He is on some meds for the psychiatric symptoms of the PANDAS. I am at a loss at what to do. I may try mirolax to help loosen the constipation. I just hope it doesn't irritate things more. What did you all do? He is making such a mess all day long with this and I don't know whare to turn.

Andrea - posted on 03/31/2009

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hi, i have an 11 year old with this problem and has always had it, i noticed your post is quite old but wondered how you were getting on, my son had to go into hospital for clear outs and it didnt really make any difference. does your son take any meds for this? my son was on regular meds called movical and it helped but you will need to be prepared to sit with him on the loo. my son also is still incontinent of urine too, this is not down to lazyness but the nerves get damaged from the mega colon and fail to send messages that the bladder needs to empty. My son gets inco pads to put in his pants and these are mor absorbant than pull ups or nappies and they also have odour control. I am from england and these are provided free from the incontinence services. My son also has imotional problems and learning difficulties . Once you can get the stools soft enough you could try sitting him on the loo of an evening and just being paitent, my son nows empties his bowles every evening, but it has taken years to get to this stage and could so easily go back again, It will take a long time for the feelings to come back down there so it is really just time. There is so much more i can say, drop me aline to let me know how your getting on. You are not alone in this and it is hard for people to understand how it effects you and the family. Be good to hear from you..good luck. Andrea

[deleted account]

Oh sorry, for those of you fortunate enough to not know what encopresis is, I guess I should have mentioned that.

Encopresis is a condition where a child has regular, accidental, usually uncontrollable bowel movements.

With involuntary encopresis, a person has no control over elimination of feces from the bowel. The feces is semi-soft to almost liquid, and it leaks out without the person making any effort to expel it.

My son's leakage usually occurs during the day when the he's the most active, and seems to be almost continuous. He's even had it happen when he's in the shower and while he's sleeping.

He wears a diaper or pull-up 24/7. He is completely independent in caring for himself. He changes himself, cleans up after himself, etc. But I know he's tired of doing so and wishes his body would cooperate. And I so wish I could help him, but I don't know how.

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