Bowel Incontinence - Cause

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What was the cause of your bowel incontinence?

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What causes bowel incontinence?

Fecal incontinence occurs because of an underlying disease or illness (it is not considered a "disease"). There are numerous potential causes and many patients have more than one reason to cause loss of bowel control.

Damage to muscles and nerves may occur directly at the time of vaginal childbirth or after anal or rectal surgery.

Neurologic diseases such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and spina bifida can be potential causes of fecal incontinence. Complications of diabetes can also cause peripheral nerve damage leading to incontinence.

Patients with inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis) and irritable bowel disease may develop fecal incontinence.

Stool seepage is different than fecal incontinence. Minor staining can occur in people who have hemorrhoids, rectal fistula, rectal prolapse and poor hygiene. Other causes include chronic diarrhea, parasite infections, and laxative abuse.

Paradoxical diarrhea or overflow incontinence may occur is a a person who has chronic constipation. In paradoxical diarrhea, stool fills the rectum, hardens and becomes impacted. Liquid stool leaks around the fecal mass, imitating incontinence.

Return to Bowel Incontinence

See what others are saying

Comment from: Barbara, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: December 16

I cannot narrow down the triggers. After 3 to 4 days of incidences muscle pain develops in back and legs.

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Comment from: Dolores, 55-64 Male (Caregiver) Published: January 23

My husband just started taking Fosamax once a week and today he could not control his bowels. There was no warning at all and all of a sudden, he went. This is very upsetting to him of course as he is concerned that the incontinence may occur in the wrong place.

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