Fecal incontinence, or bowel incontinence, a condition affecting both men and women, is characterized by the inability to control bowel movements.
It affects an estimated 18 million American adults although actual numbers are likely much higher due to many sufferers failing to report this issue to their physicians.
Fecal incontinence affects people differently some have leaks of solid or liquid fecal matter, some cannot reach a restroom in time, and some don’t realize they need to go until it’s too late. The good news is that fecal incontinence is highly treatable.
There are three main types of fecal incontinence:
- Passive incontinence – Involuntary discharge of feces or gas, usually without awareness
- Urge Bowel Incontinence – Uncontrollable discharge of gas, feces, and/or mucus despite attempts to control bowel movements
- Rectal Leakage – Leakage of stool following a routine bowel movement
Some other types of fecal incontinence include:
- Flatulence Incontinence – Individual feels the sensation of a full rectum but does not have the ability to determine whether the sensation is caused by the presence of flatulence or stool
- Encopresis and Fecal Impaction – Stool in the rectum becomes impacted and runny stool behind the impaction begins to leak out
Causes of Fecal Incontinence
- Muscle damage – For women, this most often occurs during childbirth.
- Aging Pelvic – floor and rectal muscles can weaken with age.
- Nerve damage – This can occur due to childbirth, diabetes, surgery, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
- Medical conditions – Rectal prolapse, chronic constipation, or inflammatory bowel disease are just a few possible causes.
- Other causes – There are many possible causes for bowel leakage including overuse of laxatives, radiation treatments, etc.
Fecal incontinence, also known as bowel incontinence, is inconvenient and can be embarrassing. It is treatable, and there are many treatment options available to you if you are suffering. Contact the Incontinence Institute today to learn how we can help treat fecal incontinence.