What is Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence) – Prime Gastro Liver Clinic

What is Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence) – Prime Gastro Liver Clinic

Bowel control problems, also known as faecal incontinence, can be distressing and embarrassing for those affected. In this blog, we’ll delve into what bowel control problems are, their causes, symptoms, and available treatments, all explained in simple terms.

What are Bowel Control Problems?

Bowel control problems, or faecal incontinence, occur when a person experiences difficulty controlling their bowel movements. This can result in unintentional leakage of stool or faeces, leading to the soiling of undergarments and sometimes clothing. It can happen at any age but is more common among older adults.

What is Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence) - Prime Gastro Liver Clinic

Causes of Bowel Control Problems

There are various causes of bowel control problems, including:

  • Muscle Weakness: Weakness in the muscles of the rectum and anus can impair their ability to hold stool properly, leading to leakage.
  • Nerve Damage: Nerve damage, often due to childbirth, surgery, or medical conditions such as diabetes or multiple sclerosis, can disrupt the signals between the brain and the bowels, causing faecal incontinence.
  • Chronic Constipation: Chronic constipation can stretch the rectum and weaken the muscles, making it harder to control bowel movements.
  • Diarrhoea: Chronic diarrhoea can also contribute to bowel control problems by increasing the urgency and frequency of bowel movements.
  • Rectal Prolapse: Rectal prolapse, where the rectum protrudes from the anus, can lead to faecal incontinence.
  • Physical Trauma: Injury or trauma to the pelvic area can damage the muscles and nerves responsible for bowel control.

Symptoms of Bowel Control Problems

The symptoms of bowel control problems can vary depending on the severity and underlying cause but may include:

  • Accidental leakage of stool: This is the primary symptom of faecal incontinence, where stool is passed involuntarily.
  • Urgency: A sudden and intense urge to have a bowel movement, often leading to leakage before reaching the toilet.
  • Incomplete bowel emptying: Difficulty fully emptying the bowels, leading to leakage or accidents shortly after using the toilet.
  • Soiling of undergarments: Accidental leakage of stool may soil undergarments, leading to embarrassment and discomfort.

Treatment Options for Bowel Control Problems

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available to help manage bowel control problems:

  • Dietary Changes: Making dietary adjustments such as increasing fibre intake and staying hydrated can help regulate bowel movements and reduce the risk of accidents.
  • Pelvic Floor Exercises: Strengthening the muscles of the pelvic floor through exercises such as Kegels can improve bowel control.
  • Medications: Certain medications, such as anti-diarrheal drugs or laxatives, may be prescribed to regulate bowel movements.
  • Biofeedback Therapy: Biofeedback therapy involves using sensors to monitor muscle activity in the pelvic floor and provide feedback to help improve muscle control.
  • Surgery: In severe cases where other treatments have failed, surgery may be recommended to repair or strengthen the muscles and nerves responsible for bowel control.


It is better to get the guidance of a doctor in case you are feeling the same issues. Also, bowel control problems are easy to diagnose and aiding them in the starting of the condition would be vital and easy for future maintenance.

Dr. Kailash Mishra
Director & Gastroenterologist Consultant
Prime Gastro Liver Clinic

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