Fecal incontinence is an inability to control bowel movements causing unexpected leakage. Normal continence requires the ability to sense the presence of stool in the rectum while being able to contain stool when a bowel movement is not warranted. Proper functioning of the rectum, anus, and nervous system all contribute to the ability to hold stool.
This condition can occur temporarily, but for some people, it is recurring. Incontinence can range from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control. It happens more often in women than men and is common among older people. Depending on the cause, treatment can include one or more of these approaches: dietary changes, bowel training, medications, or surgery.