What is Bowel Incontinence?

Bowel incontinence is the involuntary loss of bowel control. Any of the following are considered to be bowel incontinence:

  • Stool leaks out when passing gas
  • Stool leaks out due to daily physical activity
  • The feeling of having to go, but not being able to make it to the bathroom in time
  • Traces of stool found in underwear after a normal bowel movement
  • Complete loss of bowel control

Bowel incontinence often causes embarrassment and decreased quality of life. It is more common in women than men, and prevalence rises with age, particularly after menopause.

Causes of Bowel Incontinence

There are many factors that can contribute to bowel incontinence, including:

  • Improper diet
  • Vaginal delivery and obstetrical trauma
  • Pudendal nerve injury
  • Age-related muscle weakening 
  • Prior anal surgery
  • Radiation or chemotherapy to the pelvic region
  • Spinal cord injury 
  • Stroke
  • Conditions associated with chronic diarrhea or constipation
  • Certain systemic diseases, such as diabetes

Treatment Options for Bowel Incontinence

Our skilled practitioners will determine the best treatment options to improve your bowel control. Treatment typically begins with behavioral modifications such as dietary and fluid modification, pelvic floor therapy, and bowel habit retraining. Additional comprehensive testing may be ordered to learn more about your specific needs.