Center for Colorectal and Pelvic Reconstruction Resources :: Nationwide Children's Hospital


Diet Information

Children with fecal incontinence often times benefit from diet modifications. Depending on the child, different diets and foods should either be added or avoided to help keep him or her clean and free from accidents.

To ensure children are receiving adequate nutrition a multivitamin with mineral and calcium supplements should be given each day.


It is very important to include either water-soluble or insoluble fiber in the child’s diet.

Water-Soluble Fiber
Water-soluble fiber helps to bind the stool together and make laxatives work better. Many water-soluble fiber products are used to make jam or jelly.

There are also some foods that are high in water-soluble fiber. These are:

  • Oranges
  • Potatoes without the skin
  • Mangos
  • Yams
  • Winter squash
  • Cornmeal
  • Tangerines
  • Rutabagas

Water-Insoluble Fiber
Water-insoluble fiber helps to soften and move stool out of the colon. Water-insoluble fiber is fiber that does not dissolve in water. Whole grains, fruits, and vegetables are excellent sources of insoluble fiber. Some foods that are high in fiber are:

  • Whole wheat pasta and bread
  • Barley
  • Popcorn
  • Wheat cereals
  • Graham crackers
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Prunes
  • Melons
  • Pears
  • Green beans
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Carrots
  • Split peas
  • Kernel corn

Laxative Foods

Laxative foods act much like store-bought laxatives. They can help loosen bowel movements and move the food through the bowel faster. Laxative foods are best for children with a slow bowel or problems with hypomotility.

Laxative foods are often prescribed for children in:

They should NOT be given to children receiving treatment for hypermotility.

Consult with your doctor if there are specific foods that may work best for your child. In general, these foods work as a laxative to loosen bowel movements:

  • Bran or Bran flakes
  • Fats
  • Fried foods
  • Fruits and fruit juices, except applesauce or apples without the skin
  • Vegetables
  • Chocolate
  • Spices
  • French fries
  • Sugar drinks
  • Juices

Constipating Foods and Stool Thickeners

Constipating foods act to reduce the amount of stool in bowel movements. These foods will slow down the colon to decrease the number of bowel movements a child has each day.

Constipating foods are best for children with a fast bowel or problems with hypermotility.

They should not be given to children in:

In general, these foods work to thicken stool and decrease the number of bowel movements:

  • Apple without the skin or applesauce
  • White rice
  • White bread
  • Bagels
  • Broiled or baked chicken or fish
  • Jelly with no seeds
  • Banana
  • Pasta
  • Pretzels
  • Potatoes, mashed or boiled
  • Rice milk

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