Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan


  • Cynthia RolstonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_9192


Fecal incontinence; Fecal leakage or seepage; Paradoxical diarrhea; Soiling


Clinical condition characterized by repeated episodes of incontinence, inappropriate, or involuntary voiding of feces beyond the chronologic and developmental point that consistent control would be expected. The behavior is not attributable to medication effect, substance use, or general medical condition. Diagnosis of encopresis should be clarified as either with or without constipation and overflow incontinence.


Encopresis is classified with the Elimination Disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.; DSM-5; American Psychiatric Association 2013). Diagnostic criteria in the DSM and other systems, including the ICCS and Rome III, are reviewed by Bael et al. (2007) and later by von Gontard (2013). Notably, the Rome III criteria restricts the use of the term “encopresis” to conditions with fecal retention, in contrast to the DSM system (APA 2013...

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References and Readings

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Association Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bael, A. M., Benninga, M. A., Lax, H., Bachmann, H., Janhsen, E., De Jong, Tom P. V. M., . . . Van Gool, J. D. (2007). Functional urinary and fecal incontinence in neurologically normal children: Symptoms of one “functional elimination disorder”? BJU International, 99(2), 407–412.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1464-410X.2006.06528.x.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
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  7. Sá, C. A., Gusmão Paiva, A. C., de Menezes, M. C. L. B., de Oliveira, L. F., Gomes, C. A., de Figueiredo, A. A.,. . . Netto, J. M. B. (2016). Increased risk of physical punishment among enuretic children with family history of enuresis. The Journal of Urology, 195(4), Part 2, 1227–1231.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.juro.2015.11.022.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. von Gontard, A. (2013). The impact of DSM-5 and guidelines for assessment and treatment of elimination disorders. European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 22, 61–67.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s00787-012-0363-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PM&RVirginia Commonwealth University-Medical College of VirginiaRichmondUSA