A mother recently told me that when she sought advice from a counselor about her 5 year old son’s encopresis, the counselor told her that his accidents and his seeming indifference to having poop in his underwear was due to her poor parenting. Needless to say, this mother was very relieved to hear from me that her son’s soiling behavior was not her fault.
Unfortunately, there are still many medical and nonmedical healthcare providers who know very little, if anything, about encopresis. Encopresis is not a topic that is typically covered in detail in medical school (general or pediatric).
When the parent of a child with bowel problems is looking for a healthcare provider for advice or guidance, their first question should always be, “How familiar are you with functional constipation or chronic constipation or encopresis in children?”
If the provider says that they do know about this condition, the second question to ask is, “How many children with this condition have you seen in your practice?” Ideally, what you want is a provider with both knowledge and clinical experience.
(If you cannot find a provider who has either or both of these traits, but you do have a provider you like and trust, I am always available to speak with the provider regarding your child's specific situation. Please visit Consultations and sign up for a free 15-minute telephone consultation.)