Ask an expert
Question

18 Nov 2011

encopresis causing both child and mum trauma
Hi Paed my nearly 9 yr old daughter is approaching her 5th year with this disorder. I have taken her for counselling with renowned therapists which has cost a bomb, all to no avail. Her diet is good and healthy and includes lots of fibre but also lots of water and veggies. We try to limit sweets. She is physically active, an avid swimmer and runner. Sometimes the panties are okay for a few weeks and then it returns, with some of them soiled so badly they have to be thrown away.

I don''t know how to help my child and it is causing untold distress, and massive anxiety when it comes to sleepovers at friends or cousins houses, and this anxiety ofcourse only feeds the encopresis. What can I try which I haven''t tried? Could sth be physically wrong with her? If so then how is it she very successfully potty-trained and was completely ''dry'' until the age of 5 or so? Surely if it was a physiological issue, the problem shd have been apparent immediately I started putting panties on her. Why 0nly in the latter years?

Regarding emotional stressors in her life, not having her dad is quite a big one. But he upped and left because I fell pregnant, there is nothing I can do to change that. He now sees her very rarely, in fact only picking her up to drop her at his parents i.e. he never spends one-on-one time with her. I''ve spoken to him about it and he says he''s ''just not that kind of guy''. You can''t force someone to behave like a father so I have left it.

I haven''t dated/been in a relationship since my child was born (next June I will have been alone 10 yrs) so there is nothing untoward she is exposed to in our home i.e. no uncomfortable strangers. There is no intrusion in our lives of the sort that might cause a child angst, I have deliberately shielded her from the confusion of seeing me with different men.

So what could be causing this problem, for years now? If it goes away naturally, typically at what age does this happen?
Answer 261 views
Expert
childhood diseases
paediatrician

01 Jan 0001

This is indeed a big probem.Encopresis can be a very difficult situation to manage and you have given your daughter every bit of help that you could possibly give her. It would be worthwhile establishing that she does not have a physical component to this problem.I recommend that she be seen by a paediatric gastroenterologist.There are not many of these specialists around,so find out from your paediatrician or family doctor where your daughter can be seen.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.