(Source: NDDIC / NIH) More than 5.5 million Americans experience loss of bowel control (fecal incontinence). It affects people of all ages, and can be devastating to a person’s self esteem and family life. Knowing what treatments are available can improve bowel control and makes incontinence easier to manage.
Fecal incontinence is the inability to control your bowels. When you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, you may not be able to hold it until you get to a toilet. Or stool may leak from the rectum unexpectedly, sometimes while passing gas.
More than 5.5 million Americans have fecal incontinence. It affects people of all ages—children and adults. Fecal incontinence is more common in women and older adults, but it is not a normal part of aging.
Loss of bowel control can be devastating. People who have fecal incontinence may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or humiliated. Some don’t want to leave the house out of fear they might have an accident in public. Most try to hide the problem as long as possible, so they withdraw from friends and family. The social isolation is unfortunate but may be reduced with treatment that improves bowel control and makes incontinence easier to manage.
Key Point 1
Fecal incontinence is a common condition that is both private and embarrassing. Potentially, it can affect anyone at any time. It is important to have an active discussion with your doctor. You are not alone.
Key Point 2
Most individuals with fecal incontinence can in fact be helped. There are effective treatments that can dramatically improve quality of life, but it is important to make that first step and talk to your doctor.
Conduct an off-site search for Fecal Incontinence from MedlinePlus. These up-to-date search results are based on search terms specific to Second Opinion Key Points.