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Pediatric Bowel Management Program

The Akron Children's Hospital bowel management program is the only one of its kind in northeast Ohio. It’s a 1-week outpatient program for children who are unable to control or anticipate their bowel movements. Most kids are able to remain accident-free and transition out of diapers by the end of the week.

Who needs a bowel management program?

Our program helps children who may have trouble controlling their bowels because of a condition affecting their pelvic area. The problem is typically caused by a digestive system malformation or disease, a spinal problem or constipation.

Common conditions include:

  • Anorectal malformations; imperforate anus
  • Cloacal exstrophy (EC)
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Hirschprung disease
  • Idiopathic constipation
  • Neurogenic bowel
  • Neural tube defects

How our bowel management program works.

Led by a pediatric general surgeon and registered nurse trained in colorectal issues and bowel management, our team provides a medical examination, which includes imaging studies to determine how well the colon is being emptied, and a treatment plan tailored to your child.

In some cases surgery may be necessary, but most children can be successfully managed with diet changes and medication.

Since treatment is individualized, additional specialists may be involved, including our team of pediatric gastroenterologists.

Typically, the week-long program starts on a Friday, so you have the weekend to begin implementing daily strategies for managing fecal incontinence, such as daily enemas or laxatives.

You check in each day regarding your child’s progress and return for daily abdominal imaging. We may adjust your child’s treatment during the week until he’s able to go 24 hours with no soiling accidents.

In most cases, your child is able to remain accident-free and transition out of diapers by the end of the week.

This focused treatment, with daily monitoring and follow-up, has been shown to be much more effective than traditional outpatient treatment for fecal incontinence.

Successful treatment can greatly improve the quality of life for children who are unable to control their bowels and give them the confidence they need to fully participate in school and other activities.

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Pediatric General Surgery
Akron Children's Hospital Pediatric General Surgery, Akron
Considine Professional Building
215 West Bowery Street
Level 6
Akron, Ohio 44308
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