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Fecal incontinence and Controlling your Bowel Movements

Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum. Also called bowel incontinence, fecal incontinence ranges from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control. The ability to hold stool and maintain continence requires normal function of the rectum, anus and the nervous system.

Common causes

Fecal incontinence is considered a sign or a symptom, rather an a diagnosis of an issue. Usual it is the result of a complex mixture of factures that contribute to a weakening of the muscles that control your sphincter.

  • Constipation – causes a weakening of anus and intestines
  • Impacted stool in rectum
  • Severe diarrhea
  • Anal sphincter muscle damage
  • Nerve or other muscle damage
  • Gynecological, prostate or rectal surgery
  • Chronic laxative abuse

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Typical treatment

Lifestyle intervention

It can help to change the diet: eliminate alcohol and caffeine, and add more fiber to increase bulk of stool.

Bowel retraining

Bowel retraining can help promote better muscle tone.


The success of treatment depends upon the exact causes and how easily these are corrected. Treatment choice depends on the cause and severity of disease, and the motivation and general health of the person effected. Commonly, conservative measures are used together, and if appropriate surgery carried out. Treatments may be attempted until symptoms are satisfactorily controlled.

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