Encopresis: The inability to control the elimination of stool. Encopresis can have a variety of causes, including inability to control the anal sphincter muscle or gastrointestinal problems, particularly chronic diarrhea and Crohn's disease. Several neurological disorders, including Tourette syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorder, are also occasionally associated with the symptom of encopresis, particularly in children. Preventive care for encopresis includes frequent scheduled toileting and the wearing of pads or diapers to prevent embarrassing soiling. Careful cleaning is important to prevent skin breakdown. Treatment of encopresis usually involves treatment of the underlying disorder; cognitive behavioral therapy or behavior modification is also sometimes helpful. Also known as fecal incontinence.
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Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012