To diagnose encopresis, your child's doctor may:

  • Conduct a physical exam and discuss symptoms, bowel movements and eating habits to rule out physical causes for constipation or soiling
  • Do a digital rectal exam to check for impacted stool by inserting a lubricated, gloved finger into your child's rectum while pressing on his or her abdomen with the other hand
  • Recommend an abdominal X-ray to confirm the presence of impacted stool
  • Suggest that a psychological evaluation be done if emotional issues are contributing to your child's symptoms