Flatus Bowel Incontinence

Flatus bowel incontinence, also called flatus incontinence or flatal incontinence, is a dysfunction of the bowel. People who live with this condition can’t feel the gas coming, which means they are unable to restrain it.

This condition often comes together with fecal incontinence, which is the inability to control the escape of feces from the anus. Diagnosing flatus incontinence and addressing its cause is essential to improving your quality of life.

What Is Flatus Incontinence? 

Flatus incontinence is the involuntary loss of gas through the rectum. This bowel dysfunction affects both men and women. In some cases, a person may feel the fullness of the rectum without being able to tell whether it’s gas or feces. This can lead to embarrassing situations.

The symptoms of flatulence incontinence include:

  • Involuntary passing of gas (flatus)
  • Difficulty controlling the release of gas, leading to accidental leakage
  • Sensation of gas passing without the ability to hold it in
  • Increased frequency of bowel movements
  • Feeling of incomplete evacuation after passing gas

The condition is more common in older adults. Up to 15 out of 100 adults who aren’t in hospitals or nursing homes live with flatus incontinence.

Cause of Flatus Incontinence 

Flatus bowel incontinence can have several causes. The most common reasons behind this condition are:

  • Weak pelvic floor muscles: These muscles support the rectum and anus. Their weakness can lead to difficulty controlling gas and feces.
  • Damage to the anal sphincter muscles: Injury during childbirth, surgery, or trauma can weaken the muscles responsible for controlling bowel movements.
  • Chronic constipation: Long-term constipation can stretch and weaken the rectum and anus muscles, impairing their ability to control gas.
  • Nerve damage: Conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or spinal cord injuries can damage the nerves that control bowel function.
  • Rectal prolapse: When the rectum protrudes through the anus, it can disrupt the normal function of the anal sphincter muscles.
  • Chronic diseases: Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, or ulcerative colitis can affect bowel function.

The key to finding the right treatment for the condition is discovering the underlying cause.

How to Diagnose Flatus Incontinence 

To diagnose flatus incontinence, your physician will ask detailed questions about your symptoms and review your medical history. Next, they may need to perform a physical examination to assess the strength of your anal sphincter muscles and check for anomalies.

The doctor may also order such tests as:

  • Anal manometry: To test how muscles and nerves around the rectum work
  • MRI and Ultrasound: To identify structure problems of your anus and rectum
  • Proctography: An X-ray to check how your body handles stool
  • Proctosigmoidoscopy: A test that checks for scars and inflammation in the rectum
  • Anal Electromyography (EMG): A test to assess the function of the anal sphincter muscles and detect nerve damage

After all the tests are ready, the doctor can create an effective course of treatment.

Treatment Options 

Depending on the cause of your condition, your healthcare provider can offer one or a combination of these options:

  • Medication: Medicine to control diarrhea and prevent constipation
  • Diet changes: A change in diet to avoid flatulence-causing food
  • Muscle training: Exercises that make pelvic muscles stronger
  • Biofeedback therapy: Training that helps get better control of bowel function
  • Hemorrhoid removal: Surgery to remove hemorrhoids that don’t allow the anus to close fully
  • Sacral Nerve Stimulation (SNS): A minimally invasive procedure that involves implanting a small device near the sacral nerves. This device delivers electrical impulses to the nerves, helping improve control over bowel movements.

If the condition is caused by serious nerve damage or spinal cord injuries, a doctor may recommend surgery to install an artificial bowel sphincter.

Taking Control of Your Quality of Life

If you live with flatus bowel incontinence, you need to take this condition under control. With the right approach to diagnostics and treatment, you can improve your life soon.

At Incontinence Institute, we have a team of medical professionals with extensive experience in treating flatus and fecal incontinence. Schedule an appointment to receive a personal consultation today.

To learn more, contact our team or call our discreet, dedicated Medical Concierge at 1.888.741.6403.