People who suffer from a leaking bowel may feel a sudden urge to defecate but be unable to make it to the toilet in time or may not be aware of the need to pass stool, explains Medical News Today. Constipation, bloating and diarrhea may occur along with a leaking bowel.
Breaking wind, abdominal pain or cramps, and an itchy anus may accompany a leaking bowel, according to MNT. Causes include diarrhea; injury to anal sphincter muscles, which may occur as a result of giving birth or surgery to remove the rectum; and constipation. Cancer of the rectum, caffeinated drinks and spicy foods may cause the problem as well. Late-stage Alzheimer's disease, physical disability and injury to nerves that control passing of stools, a condition that is common in people with multiple sclerosis, may render a person vulnerable to the condition.
Medical questions and physical examination of the anus are used for diagnosis, states MNT. The doctor may also perform or order an endoscopy, a digital rectal examination, anal manometry and other tests.
Drinking plenty of fluids, eating foods that contain a lot of fiber, and taking anti-diarrheal medications may treat the problem, as can laxatives in certain situations, reports MNT. Other treatment options include bowel training and, if other options fail, surgery.