When we think of incontinence, we often associate it with unwanted and unintentional urine leakage.
However, fecal incontinence is almost as prevalent as urinary incontinence yet is rarely discussed. Incontinence can affect anyone, regardless of age or gender and could be due to hereditary factors or other health-induced reasons.
The Prevalence of Fecal Incontinence
Did you know that 24 percent of men and 17 percent of women experience fecal incontinence?
That means that almost one in five adults have, at one point or another, experienced fecal incontinence (Source).
Fecal incontinence could be accompanied by other bowel issues such as: constipation, gas and bloating, and diarrhea.
Factors That Cause Fecal Incontinence
Damage to the anal sphincter muscles
Sphincter muscles work to hold stool within the body. When these muscles are damaged, they become weak and fail to hold stool in resulting in fecal incontinence. A common cause of this is an injury sustained during childbirth. With the intense pressure that this area endures, damage to the anal sphincter muscles is common.
Pelvic nerve damage
When pelvic muscles are damaged, it can severely affect your ability to sense when you have to use the bathroom.
Reduction in rectum elasticity
There are various things that can lessen the resilience of the flexibility of the bowel. This could be hereditary or as a result of surgery or childbirth.
Fecal incontinence tends to be prevalent in those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s due to the inability to control bowl movements.
Fecal incontinence is also referred to as Accidental Bowl Loss (ABL) and is too infrequently discussed with doctors and physicians.
If you suffer from fecal incontinence, it is absolutely nothing to be ashamed about. Treatments are available that will supply you with relief of your symptoms so that you can lead a normal everyday life. Speak to your doctor or physician today and start a journey toward a better quality of life that is free from the worries of incontinence.