It's thought one in 10 people will be affected by it at some point in their life. It can affect people of any age, although it's more common in elderly people. It's also more common in women than men.
Remember to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. In many cases, incontinence can be cured and it can always be managed.
About bowel incontinence
Loss of bowel control can be an isolating condition. However, improving diet and getting some daily exercise can help you manage it.
Bowel incontinence is often caused by one or more of the following:
- Constipation – this is a leading cause of bowel incontinence. If a stool becomes impacted in your rectum, it can cause weakening of your rectum muscles so you lose control.
- Diarrhoea, due to chronic diseases of the bowel, such as Crohn’s diseases, diverticulitis, or inflammatory bowel disease. It could also be due to medications, radiotherapy, alcohol, infection or some food allergies.
- Social and mobility issues which prevent you getting to the toilet in time.
- Neurological diseases such as Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson’s disease can cause nerve damage to the muscle in your rectum. The nerve supply to the bowel can also be damaged due to Diabetes, spinal cord injuries, tumours or radiation therapy.
- Damage to the sphincter in your rectum following injury, surgery or complicated childbirth.
- Other causes may include cancer, rectal prolapse, anal fissure or haemorrhoids.
Improving bowel regularity by eating a healthy diet, drinking enough water and participating in regular exercise can make a big difference in helping to improve your control. You may also need to look at mobility issues and make sure there is easy access to the toilet and sufficient privacy.
Talk to your doctor or healthcare professional about your situation, because in many cases bowel incontinence can be managed.
Other types of incontinence