Fecal Incontinence: Overview

Fecal incontinence is the leakage of feces from the anus due to difficulty with defecation (leakage of urine is called urinary incontinence). The simplest cause may be temporary fecal incontinence that occurs with diarrhea in acute or chronic diarrheal disorders. For chronic fecal incontinence, the cause may be a muscle or nerve disorder related to defecation. Underlying causes may include maternal childbirth damage, rectal injury, spinal cord injury, dementia, degenerative nerve diseases, degenerative muscle diseases, or damage from surgery. Chronic constipation, such as from fecal impaction, may cause diarrhea as the feces leaks around the blockage. Treatment depends on the underlying cause.

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