Encopresis is a disorder that is characterized by repeatedly having bowel movement or fecal soiling in places other than toilets. If this happens after the age of four then one should see a doctor. Encopresis is mostly unintentional and uncontrolled. Unintentional and involuntary soiling is generally associated with constipation. Generally soiling is in form of loose, soft stool leaking around formed stool in colon which soils cloth. This is caused by anatomical abnormality or disease right from child birth. The child becomes reluctant in passing stool and difficulty in withholds stool. Stretching of colon looses the child to urge for having proper bowel movement, and loose stool in intestine starts leaking around the hard stool and subsequently leaks to lower part of colon called rectum and then leaks out of anus.
Initially only a small amount of stool leaks and soils underwear, usually parents thinks that the child is not wiping properly, but this is a cause of concern. And with passing time stool holding capacity decreases and the child starts passing entire stool in his/her underwear. But since the stool is not passed normally through colon they become dark and sticky and at times may also have foul smell.