Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool to leak from the rectum.

The severity of fecal incontinence symptoms can vary, but symptoms of fecal incontinence include the inability to control the passage of gas or stools and/or to make it to the restroom in time. Fecal incontinence symptoms can be accompanied by bloating, gas, diarrhea, and other bowel-related symptoms.

Causes of fecal incontinence can range from diarrhea or chronic constipation, hemorrhoids, or an aging anal sphincter muscle, to more serious causes such as nerve damage to nerves that regulate defecation. Fecal incontinence may also be a symptom of pelvic prolapse.

Additional causes and risk factors for fecal incontinence include physical disability and increasing age. Women who have undergone a childbirth that damaged the nerves and muscles of the pelvic floor are also at an increased risk for fecal incontinence.

Learn more about incontinence treatment options.