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Fecal Incontinence

Fecal Incontinence Causes

Among the causes of fecal incontinence are chronic constipation or impacted stool in the rectum, severe diarrhea, injury to the anal muscles during childbirth among women, stress of unfamiliar environment, decreased awareness of sensation of bowel fullness, nerve or muscle damage, and emotional problems. Other causes include gynecological, prostate, or rectal surgery, severe hemorrhoids or rectal prolapse, colectomy or bowel surgery, and chronic laxative use.

Fecal Incontinence Definition

Fecal incontinence or Bowel incontinence is the loss of bowel control, resulting in involuntary passage of stool. This can range from an occasional leakage of stool with the passage of gas, to a complete loss of control of bowel movements.

Fecal Incontinence Diagnosis

Aside from checking a patient's history, the doctor may perform a digital exam by inserting a gloved and lubricated finger into the rectum to evaluate the strength of the sphincter muscles and to check for abnormalities in the rectal area. To pinpoint the cause of fecal incontinence, exams such as anal manometry, anorectal ultrasonography, proctography, proctosigmoidoscopy, and anal electromyography are performed.

Fecal Incontinence Symptoms and Signs

Diarrhea, constipation, gas and bloating, and abdominal cramping are among the symptoms of fecal incontinence.

Fecal Incontinence Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause of the condition, which may include dietary changes, medications, special exercises, and surgery. Surgical options include sphincteroplasty, operations to treat rectal prolapse, rectocele, or hemorrhoids, sphincter replacement, sphincter repair, and colostomy.

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