In the last post, I discussed Encopresis and how it affects some children. This time I am going to take a look at the treatment of encopresis and some coping strategies for parents with children suffering from Encopresis.
What to do if you suspect your child has Encopresis:
It is important that if you suspect your child has encopresis that you take them to a GP. Do not, under any circumstances just start pumping laxatives into your child, as the treatment to encopresis is multileveled and often address the psychological side effects of the condition as well.
What to take with you to the GP:
Before you visit the GP, it is important that you document what is happening with your child including:
· The frequency and severity of soiling
· Whether or not your child is experiencing abdominal pain
· If your child has any unusual abdominal distension.
Common treatments for encopresis:
Initially, doctors will often prescribe stool softeners and bowel stimulants to get your childs system moving, and make sure the bowel is completely cleared.
Following this, it is recommended that the child be given the opportunity to sit on the toilet around three times a day, for at least five minutes at a time. This is because it will give the child the opportunity to go, and make sure they have gone properly.
If you have a school-aged student, you should attempt to make arrangements with the childs teacher so that he or she will have ready access to the toilet at any given point throughout the day.
In addition to the above, it is also recommended that you change your childs diet to a one that is high in fibre, and includes plenty of water.
Psychological aspects to the treatment:
As mentioned above, the child should be encouraged to, and provided with, the opportunity to use the toilet frequently throughout the day. This will give the child a chance to change their behaviour and hopefully avoid future recurrences.
Furthermore, often doctors will recommend that parents begin keeping a chart of the frequency that the child uses the toilet against the frequency that they soil. Parents can use this to double as a reward chart for the child, thus providing them with positive motivation to use the toilet.
Important things to remember:
The bowel movements involved in encopresis are involuntary! Your child has absolutely no control over them whatsoever, and therefore is not demonstrating lazy or dirty behaviour.
This affects your child as much as it affects you!! It can result in children developing both a poor body image, and low self esteem. It is important to let you child know that it is not there fault, and with some work at sticking to the treatment plan, it can be overcome.
The good news:
With proper treatment, most children successfully move on from encopresis, much to the delight of both parent(s) and child.
Sources: mostly personal textbooks I own (details can be provided if requested), and the following two websites:
www.australiandoctor.com and www.mydr.com.au