Fecal incontinence may occur temporarily during an occasional bout of diarrhea, but for some people, fecal incontinence is chronic or recurring. People with this condition may be unable to stop the urge to defecate, which comes on so suddenly that they don't make it to the toilet in time. This is called urge incontinence.
Another type of fecal incontinence occurs in people who are not aware of the need to pass stool. This is called passive incontinence.
Fecal incontinence may be accompanied by other bowel problems, such as:
Gas and bloating
Anal sphincter can be damaged by a number of causes, including:
- Nerve damage, impacting your brain’s ability to get signals that your bowels are full
- Overstraining your bowels
- Trauma resulting from anal or rectal surgery
More about Treatment
Anal sphincter is a ring of muscle that opens and closes at the bottom of your anus and plays a large role in controlling bowel function. When the muscle is damaged or weakened it can cause incontinence accidental loss of stool.
Anorectal manometry – Inserts a tiny balloon filled with water into your rectum to test the pressure of anal sphincter muscles
Colonoscopy – Takes pictures by using a thin, flexible tube (colonoscope) with an attached camera
Digital rectal examination (DRE) – Manually assesses the strength of your anal sphincter muscles
Defacography – Uses magnetic waves or X-rays to create high-definition pictures to see how well your pelvic muscles are working during a bowel movement