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Do you know?

The cause of fecal incontinence can be one of many different reasons, including medical conditions such as diabetic nerve damage, injuries sustained during vaginal delivery, advanced age, or previous anorectal surgery. Sometimes, fecal incontinence is brought on by problems with bowel movements, such as chronic diarrhea, constipation, or chronic straining.


Nearly everyone experiences fecal incontinence at some point, though it usually occurs during short-term bouts of diarrhea. Middle-age to senior females – especially those who have given birth – are at a slightly higher risk of fecal incontinence than the rest of the population. In fact, estimates suggest that 10 percent of all women over age 40 have some degree of fecal incontinence.

Treatment for fecal incontinence varies depending on the cause of the condition. For some, medication or lifestyle changes are enough to resolve the problem. For others, colorectal surgery may be necessary to repair a damaged sphincter muscle, treat a rectal prolapsed or address some other related condition. Your colorectal surgeon may examine the anal area and use a probe to gently test the muscles around the anus. Additional tests, such as a anal manometry, MRI, or balloon expulsion test, may be necessary to determine the cause of incontinence.