Constipation and soiling (encopresis) in children

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Find out about what causes constipation and soiling and how you can help your child with diet, toilet routines and medications.

Key points

  • Constipation means bowel movements (poo) that are less frequent than usual, painful or hard to pass.
  • Constipation can be caused by inadequate fluids or fibre in the diet, a change in bowel routines or medications.
  • Changes in your child's diet may improve constipation. A diet high in fibre, vegetables and fruit and drinking lots of fluids can help your child with constipation.
  • Soiling occurs when your child is unable to control a bowel movement or is leaking liquid stool (poo). Constipation is the main cause of soiling.
  • Treatment with medications for severe constipation and soiling involves a disimpaction (cleanout) phase and a maintenance phase.
  • Long-term treatment of constipation and soiling often involves medication, consistent toilet routines, high-fibre diet and regular follow-up appointments.
Last updated: July 2nd 2024