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What is fecal incontinence?

Updated: Oct 11, 2023

Did you know that faecal incontinence, the unintentional loss of bowel control, affects a 1 in 25 women who have given birth? So why don’t we hear more about it? There's a significant stigma surrounding bowel control problems, leading many sufferers to suffer in silence.

Understanding Faecal Incontinence

Faecal Incontinence refers to the accidental leakage from the bowels. This includes the loss of control over solid or liquid stools (poop), staining on underwear following a bowel movement, and accidental flatulence.

Unpacking the Causes

Factors that may be contributing to fecal incontinence:

  • Straining during bowel movements, which can lead to a weakening of the anal sphincter and pelvic floor muscles.

  • Weakened muscles around the anus, which can result from events like childbirth, aging, bowel surgery, or exposure to radiation.

  • Prolapse of the rectum (rectocele)

  • Diarrhoea

  • Constipation

  • Haemorrhoids

  • Underlying medical conditions such as Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or Coeliac disease.

  • Neurological disorders like Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease.

How can we help?

  • Strengthening the muscles surrounding the rectum

  • Correct pooping posture

  • Learning the proper method to engage and strengthen the anal sphincter and pelvic floor muscles, which can significantly enhance control

  • Achieving well-formed bowel movements, as faecal incontinence is often associated with excessively hard or loose stools

  • Pelvic alignment and breathing mechanics

  • Address any underlying tension in the pelvic floor muscles eg childbirth, surgery or radiation to the anus area.

  • Dietary adjustments, medications, dietary supplements, and fluid modifications can all contribute to improve stool consistency

  • Avoid straining during bowel movements to protect the pelvic floor and anal sphincter muscles, as well as ensuring a complete bowel evacuation to prevent leakage

  • Utilizing biofeedback to master control over strong bowel urges and prevent accidents

  • Hands on treatment to calm down the nervous system


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