Current Content
Volume 37 - Number 3
May-June 2011

Encopresis: A Medical and Family Approach
Deborah Padgett Coehlo

Bowel control is an important developmental milestone for children. Failure to achieve or loss of bowel control by five years of age threatens both physical and mental health. Most children are successful at achieving bowel control by age four, but up to 3% of the pediatric population suffer from encopresis. Three indepth case studies were reviewed, including the causes, symptoms, and treatment of this condition, one of which is presented in this article. Results indicate that treatment was successful when a combined approach using medical and behavioral strategies within the context of a developmental model was used. These results can be used by pediatric nurses, nurse practitioners, and pediatricians to assure more children will be identified and obtain the support they need for successful treatment of this complex condition.