Fecal Incontinence, also known as loss of bowel control, is the uncontrollable loss of solid or liquid stool (feces) not due to temporary illness. It can range anywhere between light staining in undergarments to complete evacuations. The ability to control your bowels, also called continence, requires the anal muscles and nervous system to be functioning normally. There are two groups of muscles responsible for holding stool in the rectum, the external anal sphincter, and the internal anal sphincter. Normal continence also requires your nerves to be able to sense the presence of stool in the rectum, and then relax and store stool when having a bowel movement is not convenient. Fecal Incontinence can affect people of any age for a variety of reasons such as muscle or nerve damage.
Common symptoms include:
– accidents without warning
– incomplete evacuations
– staining on clothing
– uncontrollable urge to have a bowel movement
– constipation or diarrhea
– Not being able to get to the bathroom on time
To learn more about fecal incontinence, you can visit the National Institute of Health’s page on Fecal Incontinence.