Encopresis And Autism: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

You must have seen that many children potty in pants or at inappropriate places. This problem is called encopresis. This problem is also called Fecal soiling. This problem is usually seen in children older than four years.

Let us tell you that most children learn to control the bowel at one age. Therefore, doctors do not consider such a problem to be a medical condition at the age of four years. But if this problem persists even after the age of four, then it becomes necessary to treat it.


The estimated prevalence of Encopresis in 4 years old children is between 1-3%.

The disorder is six times more common in males than in females.

encopresis definition
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Table of Contents

Encopresis and autism


Encopresis is when toilet children leak stools into their underwear.


A person with mental retardation learns new skills very slowly.

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Causes of encopresis

  • Grow as a result of chronic constipation.
  • Any congenital disability rarely causes Encopresis. 
  • It can begin with the painful passage of hard constipated stool.
  • Over time, child resistance to pass stool or holds stool to avoid pain. This “holding in” of the chair becomes a habit.
  • Stool collects in the child’s colon, the colon goes on stretching, and finally, the child will not get the urge to pass the stool.
  • The partly formed soft stool from high up in the intestine leaks around the hard chair’s extensive collection at the bottom of the rectum and then spreads out of the anus.
  • As time passes, more and more stool leaks, and then the child starts passing the entire stool in his or her underwear.

Also read: What Is Nocturnal Enuresis?

Symptoms of encopresis

Symptoms of encopresis include:

  • Suddenly passing stool, with a bit of caution
  • Loose green, watery stools that cause diarrhea
  • Acidity
  • Passing a hard, dry stool
  • pain, rubbing in the anal area
  • Constipation
  • No Feeling of hunger
  • Feelings of stress, anxiety, or guilt person with mental retardation learn new skills very slowly.

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Treatment of encopresis

The management of Encopresis focuses on the following principles:

  • Empty the colon of stool.
  • Establish regular, soft, and painless bowel movements.
  • Promote regular bowel habits.
  • Behavior therapy for modification of a child’s behavior.
  • Evacuation can perform in the following manner:
  • Administer enema or series of enemas creates pressure within the rectum and gives the child an urge to pass stool.
  • Suppositories or laxatives can use to promote bowel evacuation.
  • Establish a regular toilet routine. The child should sit in the toilet for 5-10 minutes after breakfast and again after dinner every day.

Behavioral techniques

  • Offer age-appropriate positive reinforcement for progressing orderly toilet habits.


  • Children may respond to teaching regarding the appropriate use of muscles and other physical responses during defecation. May help them learn how to recognize the urge to defecate. Children teach how to use their pelvic, abdominal, and anal sphincter muscles, which they have so often used to retain stool.
  • The duration of treatment varies from child to child. Treatment should continue until the child has developed regular and reliable bowel habits. It usually takes several months.

Frequently Asked Question

Is encopresis an anxiety disorder?

Encopresis affects about 1.4% of young school children and can create huge anxiety and embarrassment for children and their families. Encopresis is not a disorder but rather a symptom of a complex relationship between the body and psychological or environmental stresses.

How is psychological encopresis treated?

Behavioral modification with a psychologist’s assistance is an integral treatment component for encopresis. Should reduce family tension regarding the symptoms and Should establish a nonpunitive atmosphere.

Can a child outgrow encopresis?

Many children who do not undergo treatment can resolve the problem independently as they grow up, but this can take many years. As a result, the problem can continue into adulthood.

Can adults suffer from encopresis?

It affects someone of all ages -adults and children. However, it is more common in women and older adults. It is not a normal part of aging.

Can anxiety cause encopresis?

A child develops encopresis if they feel anxious and stressed. Encopresis is repeated outbreaks of stool soiling in children over 4 years old.

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Encopresis can be prevented most effectively by avoiding permanent constipation. If constipation is short-lived, should give plenty of fluids and fruits not to harden the stool.

Glycerin suppositories can help soften the stool but should only be used for a short time and primarily to prevent pain in the baby. If bowel movements appear to be uncomfortable and painful, it is essential to seek medical treatment.

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