How do children develop fecal incontinence?

Diana Meeks
Diana Meeks on behalf of Sigma Nursing
Family Practitioner

Children usually develop fecal incontinence as a result of constipation. Children can easily become constipated for a number of reasons. Children who are toilet-trained too soon may become constipated easily. Children may refuse to move their bowels because a past bowel movement was painful, because they feel embarrassed or stubborn, or because they dislike using public or unfamiliar toilets. Children, like adults, can become constipated as a result of stress, especially family stress like the birth of a new sibling. Children may hold in their stool if there is no toilet available, or if they do not want to interrupt play. Holding in stool can lead to fecal impaction and incontinence. In some cases, childhood fecal incontinence can occur due to illness, especially illnesses that cause diarrhea, or as the result of a congenital defect.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.