Our expert says:
There is a recognized condition called Encopresis, in which a child is capable of producing normal stools, but does so at inappropriate places and times ; and also something likewhat you describe, in which a child holds back from going to the loo. It can be a combination of physical and psychological problems.
Sometimes, for instance, a child becomes costipated, for any of a dozen temporary reasons. Passing a large and hard stool there may be a small tear in the lining of the lowest bowel ( such as an anal fissure ) , making it painful to pass a stool, so he holds back for fear of discomfort --- but then becomes constipated, which makes it painful to pass those stools, and so on, with a sort of vicious cycle. Not a phobia, where the fear is irrational, but a rational fear of real discomfort, though this is aoidable. They may be helped by a stool softener rather than a stimulant aperient.
You imply in your question that this is an intermittent problem, which would show that his bwels are fully capable of functioning normally, and you also describe this as though it were a fairly recent problem, and again a history of entirely normal bowel movements recently is encouraging and strongly suggests the bowels themselves are normal. Unlike the situation with actual bowel structural problems like Hirschpsring's Disease, which presents itself much earlier in life.
Assessment by a good local pediatrician would be wise, as he can check for a fissure ; and managing that could clear up the problem. If that does not work, then a child shrink could most probably help.
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