Bowel/Fecal Incontinence


What is incontinence?

Fecal incontinence, also called a bowel control problem, is the accidental passing of solid or liquid stool or mucus from the rectum. Bowel continence relies on muscles and nerves of the rectum and anus working together. Control is defined as the ability to hold stool in the rectum, make us aware when the rectum is full, and release stool when the person is ready. Circular muscles called sphincters close tightly like rubber bands around the anus until stool is ready to be released. Pelvic floor muscles also help with bowel control.


Fecal incontinence ranges from the inability to hold a bowel movement at all, passing stool into one’s underwear without being aware of it happening, the need to wear protection, to minor mucous and stool staining. This condition is obviously upsetting and embarrassing. Many people with this condition feel ashamed and try to hide the problem. However, they should not be afraid or embarrassed to talk with their health care provider. Fecal incontinence is often caused by a medical problem and repairable. Treatment is available, and the condition can often be eliminated or greatly improved. It is estimated that 18 million U.S. adults have fecal incontinence. People of any age can have a bowel control problem, though fecal incontinence is more common in women and in older adults.


The physicians at Atlanta Colon and Rectal Surgery are experts in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of this life altering disability.


What causes incontinence?

Fecal incontinence has many causes, including:



What can be done to correct the problem?

Although quite common, fecal incontinence is a treatable condition that can significantly change the life of someone that suffers from this condition. Several new procedures such as sacral nerve stimulation and bulking agent application are now available. The physicians at Atlanta Colon and Rectal Surgery are experts in the diagnosis, management, and treatment of this life altering disability.


Click here to learn more about our procedures for fecal incontinence