I posted this to one of the experts, but thought I'd post here too, in case I'm not alone with this issue, and if anyone has any suggestions...
My just turned 8 yr old boy has been having several "accidents" a day, soiling his underpants with just a little feces at a time. It's not diarrhea, and it seems to come and go, some days he doesn't have any, then sometimes he'll have 5 or 6 accidents a day (like today). Do you know what could be the cause of this? Could there be something physically wrong, like weak anal sphincter muscles or something? What could I do to help? When he does have a BM, it's well formed. He's never complained of being constipated. (Our family is pretty healthy, we juice every day, and he has a fair amount of vegetables and whole grains in his diet)
A few things about his personality - he is a happy bouncy child most of the time...loves being the center of attention, and chatters constantly. One other thing he does struggle with is not being able to go to sleep on his own. I have been with him every night, and he freaks out if I leave and he is not asleep yet. He comes into my bed sometime in the night/early morning, and always wakes up next to me.
I'm not sure if this issue is psychological, or physical.....I read a book on homeopathic constitutional remedies, and thought that may help him, but so far I haven't diagnosed his type confidently....I think maybe Sulphur or Phosphorus, but I'm not trained enough to tell.
If you have any suggestions, that would be very helpful!
My cousin had this issue. I think for her it was she just did not want to stop what she was doing and that little bit would be enough to let her keep playing.
Maybe set aside bathroom breaks throughout the day where he needs to go to use the restroom no matter what hes doing.
Thanks...yes, that may be part of the issue, and when he does soil, I have him sit on the toilet for a while, to see if he needs to go. Usually he doesn't. I think it may be more than that, as sometimes he gets mad and embarrassed at himself for doing it, and it hurts when Mother has to wipe him (it's messier than usual, so he needs help)....yesterday I had to put some Vaseline on the area as it had gone all red from having poop on it so many times.
Well, I definitely think you're not the only parent to deal with this issue. And, there can be lots of reasons why kids might be having accidents like these. So, probably the best first step to take would be to run this by your doctor and rule out any health issues that might be causing this problem. And, even if it's not health-related, they may still have some suggestions to offer you on how to curb this behavior. Lastly, your post reminded me of a similar situation I saw brought up during in my time at Focus on the Family. So, you may want to take a look at some of the advice that was offered at http://bit.ly/N32BPW. Maybe it will give you some guidance? Well, I hope you're able to get to the bottom of this. Praying for you...
In my son's case he was withholding because he didn't want to stop playing to go.
Rachelle, mommy to 8 year old boys!
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Thank you so much for the responses! That is very helpful. I had no idea about that condition - Encopresis. That sounds exactly like the problem, although I will take it to our doctor too. Its like he just doesn't 'feel' it coming out. The only way we know it has happened is that he starts smelling a bit. I've taken to putting one of my thin pantyliners in his underpants, which helps clean up tremendously. I will also try prune juice and regular bathroom visits.
I probably started as him not wanting to go because he was playing....and ends up as a real problem.
Thanks again for responding....Mothering is always enlightening ...
My daughter just turned 8 this month and I have been having the same problem with her for about a year now and have been told it may be constipation, due to stress or "too busy" to go. I went to another doctor today and was told that was not the case at all. She has not been diagnosed yet, but doc said she has muscle weakness in the intestinal tract with a lack of the fluid that helps moves waste down into bowel. She is now on a muscle stimulant with a laxative to coat and lubricate the tract. She will be seeing a GI specialist in a few weeks. I wouldn't brush it off as him being lazy or trying to hold it because he is playing. That's what we did and I am really regretting it.