Common Bowel Problems Bowel Leakage

What is Bowel Leakage or Fecal Incontinence?

Fecal incontinence is a medical term for bowel leakage that refers to the loss of normal control of the bowel, leading to leakage of solid or liquid stool, mucus, or gas. 

Symptoms of Fecal Incontinence

Symptoms of fecal incontinence can be experienced either as stool coming out without warning, which is known as passive fecal incontinence or as a sudden bowel movement that can’t be controlled, which is called urge fecal incontinence. Some may experience both kinds of leakage.

Common symptoms of bowel leakage include:

  • Feeling a strong or sudden urge to pass stool
  • Not making it to the toilet in time
  • Not being able to control bowel movements
  • Having accidents due to not being aware of/feeling the need to go
  • Streaks or strains of stool in the underwear

Causes of Bowel Leakage

Bowel leakage can be due to very loose stool, food intolerance, or the use of medications.  A common cause of bowel leakage is constipation, and this can happen when watery stool passes the hard stool stuck in the bowel. Other causes for experiencing bowel leakage can be incomplete emptying when having a bowel movement, or injury or disease affecting the bowel.

There are several conditions that can result in bowel incontinence, and it is commonly experienced in neurological diseases or injuries, congenital malformations, and functional bowel disorders (FBD).

Changes or damages in the anal canal or rectum such as after childbirth can also make it difficult to hold stool and may cause leakage years after the trauma. Other damages can be caused by surgery, such as the removal of hemorrhoids or a tumor. Bowel leakage can also be caused by problems with mobility that can make it hard to reach the toilet in time.

Besides the causes described here, there are factors that have been seen to increase the risk of bowel leakage, such as old age, diabetes, being physically inactive, and obesity. Soft/runny stool further increases the risk of leakage.

Fecal Incontinence Treatment

To most people, not being able to trust and control their body is devastating.

If you are dealing with bowel leakage you know that both the physical and psychological consequences feel limiting and may stop you from doing what you want. Lack of bowel control and worry about accidents are valid reasons to reach out and talk to a healthcare professional.

Depending on the severity of your bowel issues, there are different ways to tackle them. The Navina Bowel Care product range offers innovative solutions prescribed by healthcare professionals:

  • Navina Irrigation System, which can be used as a solution to more severe bowel issues. Read more about bowel irrigation here.

Treatment for Bowel Problems

There are several ways to treat bowel dysfunction. These include surgical methods, transanal irrigation and conservative methods - such as lifestyle and diet.

Fecal Incontinence (FI)

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Fecal incontinence (FI) is the symptom that is ranked as the most bothersome for patients. FI is also the most under reported due to the taboo nature and embarrassment associated with it.