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Children's Health

Bowl Trouble



why does my 13 year grandson still poop his self no medical reason was found


If there has been a good evaluation and there is no physical problem behind the stooling in his pants, it is possible that there is a psychological reason. Stooling on oneself or even taking the stool and smearing it around are not uncommon ways for boys, especially; to express tremendous, repressed anger about something adverse that is happening in their lives or as an expression of mental illness. The source of anger can be caused by a variety of reasons. The reasons include having been emotionally, physically or sexually abused or neglected by adult caregivers, friends, or teachers or for any of a host of other things that in the child's mind and may have hurt him deeply, whether or not any of these things are real or simply perceived to have happened.

The best step at this point is to work with the boy's doctor to find a reputable, skilled mental health professional to work with him and his family to identify the source of the problem. Acting now to help him as he enters puberty is so important for him. Being a social outcast because you smell bad and poop in your pants is hard for any child to endure, but much more so for a pubertal child whose whole developmental push is to be a valued and successful part of his peer group.

I hope your grandson finds the help he needs soon. Best wishes as you and his other family members support him in moving forward.

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Response by:

Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN Mary M Gottesman, PhD, RN, CPNP, FAAN
Professor of Clinical Nursing
College of Nursing
The Ohio State University