Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is the inability to control your bowels. More than 6.5 million Americans have fecal incontinence. It affects people of all ages – children as well as adults.

Loss of bowel control can be devastating. People who have fecal incontinence may feel ashamed, embarrassed or humiliated. Some don’t want to leave the house out of fear they might have an accident in public.

Quick Facts

Symptoms:

  • Uncontrollable bowel movements

Common Causes:

  • Damage to the anal sphincter muscles
  • Damage to the nerves of the anal sphincter muscles or the rectum
  • Loss of storage capacity in the rectum
  • Diarrhea
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction  

Diagnosis:

  • Medical history review and review of symptoms
  • Physical examination
  • Tests, as deemed necessary and appropriate 

Common Treatments:

  • Dietary changes
  • Eat smaller meals more frequently
  • Eat and drink at different times
  • Eat more fiber
  • Eat foods that make stool bulkier
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Medication
  • Bowel training
  • Surgery

Related Links: