What Is Fecal Incontinence?

Fecal (Bowel) Incontinence is the inability to retain stool until in a bathroom or another socially acceptable place to defecate.

Feces (bowel movement or stool) contains waste products of digestion.  Foods and fluids that are consumed, the speed of digestion, medications and numerous other factors contribute to the production of a bowel movement.  The rectum is a temporary storage area for stool.  The bowel must have space to store stool and elasticity to expand.  The Interior Anal Sphincter regulates passage of gas and liquid stool to exit the body through the anus.  The Exterior Anal Sphincter responds to rectal fullness to regulate the passage of formed stool through the anal opening to outside of the body.

Passive Fecal Incontinence - Small to large amounts of stool or gas are involuntarily discharged without awareness.

Fecal Incontinence - Small to large amounts of fecal matter are discharged despite active efforts to retain bowel contents.

Fecal Seepage - Small amount of stool is leaked following a normal bowel movement.

Information Resources:
International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: www.iffgd.org
Association of Gastrointestinal Motility Disorders (AGMD): www.agmd-gimotility.org