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Chiropractic Care for Encopresis

Published Date: 
November 15, 2023
Categories:
Little boy on a child toilet.

Encopresis is a difficult physical challenge to experience as a child and to manage as a parent. Many families end up frustrated and feeling alone when there are bouts of encopresis. The good news is there are natural, safe, and effective options for treating this condition.

Chiropractic is a great treatment option for identifying and treating the root cause of encopresis and other childhood health issues.

Understanding Encopresis and Its Causes

Encopresis occurs when someone, usually over the age of four, experiences involuntary bowel movements. It is sometimes called fecal incontinence, bowel incontinence, or soiling. It most often occurs when impacted stool cannot pass out of the colon or rectum. If the colon gets too full, liquid stool might leak around the firm stool, causing diarrhea.

Over time, if the problem is not alleviated, stool retention can lead to distention of the bowels and loss of bowel control.

Young boy playing with rolls of toilet paper.

Most children experience encopresis after they’ve been potty trained. Many have no issues with their bladder or urination, and some even defecate on the toilet. However, they are unable to evacuate their bowels completely. Encopresis is most often caused by constipation, but it can be caused by an emotional issue or a combination of both constipation, stress, and other emotional issues.

Constipation is the most common cause of encopresis, but it’s not the only cause. Other issues that might lead to issues with bowel movements in childhood include:

Bowel incontinence is frustrating for both children and adults. Children are also embarrassed because of the problem. The good news is there are things parents can do to help their children alleviate problems with encopresis.

Working with a team of healthcare providers is essential when treating your child’s encopresis. This is especially true if the root cause is not constipation or not only constipation. If your child experiences encopresis due to an emotional issue, they must work with a mental health professional while treating the disorder's physical aspects.

How Chiropractors Help Children Suffering from Encopresis

One of the primary reasons encopresis occurs is due to constipation. When a child cannot completely evacuate their bowels at potty time, it increases their odds of experiencing encopresis. Chiropractic care addresses the root cause of the problem – constipation.

Chiropractic care relieves chronic constipation by addressing the structure of your spinal column. Treatments correct spinal misalignment that put pressure on the nerves that branch out from the spine, remove nerve interference, and stimulate the body’s ability to heal.

Help Your Child Avoid Constipation at Home

You can help your child avoid constipation without medication or invasive medical treatments by:

  • Adding more fruits and vegetables to their diet: Fruits and veggies are packed with water and fiber, promoting healthy bowel movements.
  • Increase water and fluid consumption: Besides eating high-fiber foods, it’s also a good idea for most children to increase water intake to see an improvement. This is especially true during warmer months when children are playing outside and sweating.
  • Avoid junk food and caffeine: Anything dehydrating can trigger constipation issues. The salt and sugar in junk food and caffeinated products such as sodas might seem like a good substitute for water, but they actually dehydrate the body.
  • Increase exercise and physical activity: Physical activity promotes digestion and can lead to a significant improvement in difficulty with defecation or discomfort. Sometimes, just getting out and taking a walk after a meal is enough to encourage a regular bowel movement.
  • Have potty time half an hour after every meal: This reduces the risk of accidents and helps your child’s body grow accustomed to a schedule.
  • Reward bowel movement attempts and successes: Acknowledge your child’s efforts to avoid accidents. Make potty time fun so your child can relax and release waste.

Conclusion

Encopresis is one of the most challenging digestive issues children and parents can face. It can set potty training efforts back and result in emotional issues for the child. Even encopresis caused entirely by constipation can lead to emotional problems due to embarrassment, exacerbating the problem.

Chiropractic treatment can address the root cause of encopresis and provide information to parents to help them better manage their child’s toileting issues at home. Chiropractic adjustment allows parents to treat encopresis without medications that, over time, can damage the body’s natural ability to expel waste and cause permanent damage to the digestive system.

Dr. Eric Neumann D.C.

Dr. Eric Neumann grew up in Alberta, Canada where he majored in Chemistry at the University of Calgary. During his time at University, he obtained licensure as a Massage Therapist. It was clear that hands-on healing would be his calling. After suffering multiple sport-related injuries he became interested in Chiropractic. Dr. Neumann graduated from Western States Chiropractic College in 2009. He has since specialized in the treatment and management of acute spinal injuries.

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