What is Fecal Incontinence?

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Douglas A. Drossman, MD
Fecal incontinence is a condition where the muscle down in the sphincter area, the rectal, the anal rectal sphincter, the muscle that controls the passage of the bowel movement might be getting a little bit weak. And when that occurs, there can be leakage. It occurs in many people, particularly women as they get older and if they've had several children because the stretch of delivery can lead to weakening and then 10, 15, 20 years later, they may get passage of a little bit of stool. Often it is when the stool is more liquid. If it gets more severe it can even be severe enough to be where even formed bowel movements can occur either with or without awareness of it. When that occurs, we have to look at this in way of very specific treatments.