Q:

What is the difference between leaking bowels and incontinence?

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Quick Answer

Bowel incontinence, also known as fecal incontinence, is the inability to control or the involuntary evacuation of feces or flatus, according to MedicineNet.com. In contrast, leaking bowels, which is also termed leaky gut, is the leaking of substances from the small intestines to the bloodstream, explains WebMD.

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Full Answer

Different muscles, including the internal anal sphincter and external anal sphincter, and nerves in the rectum and anal area work together to control bowel movement, states MedicineNet.com. When damage to these muscles and nerves occur, loss of bowel control results. This may happen during childbirth or in a surgery of the anus or rectum.

Stroke, spinal cord injury, spina bifida and multiple sclerosis may also cause fecal incontinence, according to MedicineNet.com. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel disease may also experience bowel incontinence.

As of 2014, not much is known about leaky gut, says WebMD. Its connection with symptoms such as bloating, food sensitivities and cramps is still a mystery. A possible explanation of this syndrome is increased intestinal permeability. This happens when the lining of the small intestines malfunction and allow substances, such as toxins, into the bloodstream. Leaky gut syndrome is used to explain some of the symptoms associated with celiac disease and Crohn's disease.

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