Incontinence

Bowel or fecal incontinence is a syndrome that involves the unintentional loss of solid or liquid stool. Many definitions of fecal incontinence exist, some of which include flatus (passing gas), while others are confined to stool. True anal incontinence is the loss of anal sphincter control leading to the unwanted or untimely release of feces or gas.

An embarrassing and bothersome condition, the financial cost of fecal incontinence is quite significant. More than $400 million is spent each year for adult diapers that control urinary and fecal incontinence. It is the second leading cause of admission to long-term care facilities in the United States.

This must be distinguished from other conditions that lead to stool passing through the anus. Stool seepage that produces soilage of undergarments may result from hemorrhoids, enlarged skin tags, poor hygiene, fistula, and rectal prolapse. Other conditions that result in poor bowel control are Irritatable bowel syndrome, laxative abuse and infection.

Fecal urgency also must be differentiated from fecal incontinence because urgency may be related to medical problems other than anal sphincter disruption, such as IBS.

We have many new and upcoming options for the treatment of fecal incontinence.