In order for a person's bowel movements to progress exactly as intended, numerous systems and muscles throughout the body must work together. This is the final phase of digestion and is primarily designed to ensure that stool passes out of the body by going through the rectum and anus. In most cases, you should be able to control your bowel movements, which means that you generally decide when to go. Fecal incontinence is an inability to control these movements.
Fortunately, there are treatment options for this condition. However, it helps to first understand what has caused a specific patient’s case.
About Fecal Incontinence
Fecal incontinence is a condition that results from being unable to properly control your bowel movements. If you're suffering from this condition, it's likely that you'll begin to notice unexpected leaks of stool from the rectum. Fecal incontinence can range substantially in severity. More minor cases usually involve a small leakage of stool in certain situations when passing gas. More severe cases can lead to a total loss of bowel control. A person can suffer from fecal incontinence due to everything from nerve damage to diarrhea. This condition is typically treatable.
There is usually more than one contributing factor of fecal incontinence. Muscle damage and nerve damage are among the most common causes, the former of which occurs when the muscles at the end of the rectum have been injured. When injured, these muscles won't be able to effectively hold back stool until healed. Other potential factors include:
- Surgery around the anus or rectum
- A rectal prolapse
If not treated right away, this condition can lead to complications like severe emotional distress and skin irritation.