Diagnosis and management of urinary incontinence and functional fecal incontinence (encopresis) in children

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2008 Sep;37(3):731-48, x. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2008.06.007.


The ability to maintain normal continence for urine and stools is not achievable in all children by a certain age. Gaining control of urinary and fecal continence is a complex process, and not all steps and factors involved are fully understood. While normal development of anatomy and physiology are prerequisites to becoming fully continent, anatomic abnormalities, such as bladder exstrophy, epispadias, ectopic ureters, and neurogenic disturbances that can usually be recognized at birth and cause incontinence, will require specialist treatment, not only to restore continence but also to preserve renal function. Most forms of urinary incontinence are not caused by an anatomic or physiologic abnormality and, hence, are more difficult to diagnose and their management requires a sound knowledge of bladder and bowel function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Behavior Therapy
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Encopresis / diagnosis*
  • Encopresis / etiology
  • Encopresis / therapy*
  • Humans
  • Muscarinic Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Urinary Incontinence / diagnosis*
  • Urinary Incontinence / etiology
  • Urinary Incontinence / therapy*


  • Muscarinic Antagonists