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My son is 11 years old. I recently found that he is eating his own feces. He has been a very normal boy. Last year he experienced a rough patch at school and got very down on himself. I don't know if this is related to depression (he is always pretty cheerful) or a mental illness. My wife thinks it could possibly be a nutrient deficiency. I don't know, I am puzzled by this behavior and could use some guidance. I know this behavior is common in some children, but at his age has me wondering.

Hi, GJ hursh,

Eating stool (copraphagia) is seen in some infants, but is not commonly seen in a child this age.  I would first of all see your pediatrician.  He/she may draw some blood to ensure that there is no anemia or lead problems, try to explore the possible psych aspects of this, and determine which direction to go.  Please do this this week.

Good luck, Dr. Olson  


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David Olson, MD


I would be happy to attempt to answer any questions about general pediatric topics, either medical issues or behavioral issues. This would include all the various questions one receives in a busy pediatric practice. I`m a board certified pediatrician in northern Michigan and have been in practice for over 15 years. I enjoy the teaching role I have in our practice and would enjoy the opportunity to help others with their pediatric problems.

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