Fecal incontinence—or loss of control over your bowel movements—can significantly impact your quality of life.
Fortunately, fecal incontinence is a real medical issue that can be effectively managed.
Fecal incontinence is the loss of control over your bowel movements.
If you have fecal incontinence, you are not alone. Approximately 4-10% of people experience accidental bowel leakage. The actual percentage of people is probably higher, because patients are reluctant to discuss bowel control issues with their doctors.
What leads to fecal incontinence?
Fecal incontinence occurs when the rectum, anus, and nervous system do not work together in a coordinated way. This means that the sphincters—or groups of muscles that open and close at the end of your intestines—are not able to do their job of holding in stool. Sphincters may be weakened due to childbirth, older age, stroke, chronic conditions, rectal prolapse, or even trauma.
What are some of the symptoms?
Symptoms may include:
- unexpected leakage of gas
- silent leakage of stool (feces) without sensation
- urgency without being able to make it to the toilet in time
Our Online Learning Center has more information about the signs, symptoms, causes, and diagnosis of fecal incontinence.
Fecal incontinence is a medical condition that can be managed. Treatment is different for everyone—your doctor will help you determine which therapies are right for you.
At Middlesex Health, we have an entire program dedicated to managing fecal incontinence, so that you can regain the quality of life and confidence you deserve.