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Functional Disorders including Bowel Incontinence

Bowel Incontinence

Bowel incontinence, also known as faecal incontinence, is the inability to control bowel movements, causing involuntary leakages. These leakages range from an occasional stool leakage when passing gas to a complete loss of control over liquid or solid stools.

Two types of bowel incontinence that may occur are urge and passive incontinence. Urge bowel incontinence is when a patient feels a sudden urge to go to the toilet but cannot reach the bathroom in time.

Another type of bowel incontinence is called passive incontinence or passive soiling, whereby there is no sensation felt before soiling or slight soiling occurring when passing gas.

This condition can affect people of any age and may be caused by a multitude of different underlying conditions including weakened or damaged anal sphincter muscles, nerve damage that might be associated with ageing or childbirth, diabetes mellitus, congenital disorders, neurological disease, previous anal surgery and anorectal prolapse.

The treatment of bowel incontinence is individualised to the patient, underlying cause, and the severity of the condition. This may include dietary modification, medication, anorectal biofeedback (bowel training), neuromodulation and injectable anal bulking agents. Surgical intervention, such as sphincteroplasty, may be required in suitable cases.