Cleaning the Bowels – Treating Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is a result of the involuntary functioning of the excretory and digestive system, which causes involuntary discharge of fecal matter or gas via the rectum. It is one of the major types of incontinence and has to be dealt with in a prescribed and fairly technical manner. Technically speaking, it is a bit more difficult to deal with fecal incontinence that with urinary incontinence. Also known as bowel incontinence, fecal incontinence can be an embarrassing condition for a person but fortunately, the right kind of treatment and care and improve your quality of life even with fecal incontinence.

Causes of Fecal Incontinence

  • Muscle Damage
  • Nerve Damage
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of Storage Capacity in the Rectum
  • Rectal Prolapse
  • Rectocele
  • Surgery

Types of Fecal Incontinence

  • Urge Incontinence - The person feels an urgent urge to defecate but they might have to rush to reach the toilet in time
  • Passive Incontinence - In this case the person is unaware that the rectum is full and needs to be empties immediately thus causing involuntary release of fecal matter
  • Anal or Rectal Incontinence - This condition is referred to as the inability to control the rectal or sphincter muscles
  • Overflow Incontinence - This is caused when the colon is blocked by a piece of stool thus allowing only watery discharge to involuntarily escape the colon
  • Dual Incontinence - This is a rare condition in which the patient suffers from both urinary and fecal incontinence

Risk Factors Involved With Fecal Incontinence

  • Age - Although there is no age bar for when fecal incontinence occurs, it is more common among middle-aged people and the elderly
  • Sex - Fecal incontinence has been found to be more common among women. Complication during childbirth and menopause can sometimes lead to fecal incontinence
  • Nerve Damage - Diabetes and sclerosis can affect nerves that control defecation and hence damage to these nerves can cause fecal incontinence
  • Dementia - Fecal incontinence is a common part of last stage Alzheimer’s and Dementia
  • Physical Disability - An injury to the rectal nerve can result in the physical disability to control defecation hence causing fecal incontinence

Treatment Options for Fecal Incontinence

Here are a few ways which can help you treat fecal incontinence and make your life easier.

  • Healthy Eating
  • Medications
  • Training the Bowel
  • Exercising
  • Medical Procedures

Healthy Eating

Changing your diet may help a lot in easing the load of fecal incontinence. Foods play a big role in determining the way your body acts during digestion and excretion.

  1. Fibrous foods – Foods with fiber are considered an important part of any diet, as fiber helps with diarrhea and constipation. Fiber slows digestion, which helps lower cholesterol and blood glucose; it also makes waste heavier and softer so it can pass through the intestines easily. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans. To avoid bloating, fiber should be gradually incorporated in the diet.

    Cleaning the Bowels – Treating Fecal Incontinence

  2. Plenty of Liquids – Adequate amounts of liquid in a day may prevent constipation. Water is the most neutral and the healthiest choice. Drinks with caffeine, alcohol, milk, or carbonation should be avoided if they trigger diarrhea in the body.

    Cleaning the Bowels – Treating Fecal Incontinence


If the fecal incontinence is caused by another medical condition, such as diarrhea, then medications might help curing it. Health care people sometimes recommend using bulk laxativesto develop more solid stools that are easier to control. Antidiarrheal medications may also be recommended to slow down the bowels and help control the problem. But the first and foremost step is to always consult with a doctor before using any kind of new medication or changing medication.

Training the Bowel

A regular bowel movement can help in hindering fecal incontinence, especially fecal incontinence caused by constipation. Training involves trying schedule bowel movements at specific times of the day, such as after every meal. As time passes, the body becomes used to a regular bowel movement pattern, thus reducing constipation and related fecal incontinence. Persistence is the key to successful bowel training. Achieving a regular bowel control pattern can take up to weeks or months.


Pelvic floor muscles exercises help control fecal incontinence. They involve squeezing and relaxing pelvic floor muscles 50 to 100 times a day. You may refer to a health guru or yoga expert to help you get the exercises correct. Biofeedback therapy may also help a person perform the exercises properly. This therapy may improve a person’s awareness of sensations in the rectum, teaching them how to coordinate squeezing the external sphincter muscle with the sensation of rectal filling. Biofeedback training uses specialized sensors to measure bodily functions. A person can practice the exercises at home. Success with pelvic floor exercises depends on the cause of fecal incontinence, its severity, and the person’s motivation and ability to follow the health care provider’s recommendations.

Cleaning the Bowels – Treating Fecal Incontinence

Medical Procedures

There are a number of surgical options that can help cure or control fecal incontinence which include:

  • Sphincteroplasty
  • Treating Rectal Prolapse, a rectocele or haemorrhoids
  • Sphincter Replacement
  • Sphincter Repair
  • Colostomy

Wearing Briefs

Wearing adult diapers or briefs is another good caring option that one can take. These briefs are not visible easily on the outside and can be easily camouflaged under the clothes. They are absorbent and can help you get through an involuntary discharge at almost any time.

Cleaning the Bowels – Treating Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence can be a tough and sometimes embarrassing condition to get through with, but the right kind of support, care, and treatment, one can easily improve their quality of life even while going through fecal incontinence.


All You Need To Know About Treating Fecal Incontinence


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