What Is Bowel Incontinence?


Quick Answer

According to WebMD, bowel incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements. It is more common in older adults. The medical threat that bowel incontinence poses is usually not serious, although the social impact it has often discourages people from engaging in day-to-day activities.

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Full Answer

WebMD further states that bowel incontinence is most frequently caused by damage to the muscles around the anus, such as the anal sphincters. Women are affected twice as often as men due to the effects childbirth can have on these muscles. Other causes include diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease, nerve damage, radiation damage and cognitive impairment. Treatment for bowel incontinence may involve medicine, surgery or minimally invasive procedures. Consuming more fiber, drinking more water and avoiding caffeine are often recommended as an initial dietary treatment.

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