The MultiCare Mary Bridge Pediatric Constipation & Encopresis Clinic offers a range of services to diagnose and treat infants, children and adolescents struggling with constipation and encopresis (leaky stool). We are one of two encopresis treatment centers in Washington State.
Our experienced team includes a certified pediatric nurse practitioner specializing in gastroenterology disorders, registered nurses, a psychologist, a social worker and other support staff. Our goal is to work hand-in-hand with you and your child’s primary care provider to ensure your child gets better. Mary Bridge pediatric gastroenterologists and other sub-specialists are also available for consultation, if necessary.
Both constipation and encopresis are common in children.
Constipation is when infants or children have few bowel movements or bowel movements in which the stool is dry and hard to pass.
Encopresis is the uncontrolled leaking of stool into the underwear by a child older than 4 years of age developmentally. It is caused when a mass of stool develops in the rectum if it is not emptied. Stool from the colon leaks around this mass, resulting in stool accidents.
The Mary Bridge Constipation and Encopresis Clinic treats infants, children and adolescents who are:
We'll complete a medical history and check-up during your child’s first visit and the nurse practitioner will determine if further testing is needed. Some children may require x-rays or other imaging tests and blood work. Others may need to see a pediatric gastroenterologist for other outpatient tests or procedures. To help facilitate these tests, we offer child-friendly sedation services provided by an expert physician, when that extra level of comfort is needed.
After a diagnosis is made, a plan for improving your child’s condition is developed and shared with your child’s pediatrician.
Treatment for constipation or encopresis may include:
Resolving defecation issues often takes time. The nurse practitioner and other experts will stay involved throughout this process and your family’s active participation is also necessary to help your child.
Consider the following tips to help make the time with your child’s nurse practitioner as useful and beneficial as possible:
Allow one to two weeks for lab results. If the results of any test given to your child come back abnormal, you will be contacted by your child’s nurse practitioner.
For questions or concerns regarding your child’s condition or treatment that arise in between scheduled visits: