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Fecal incontinence is the loss of normal control of your bowels. You may not be able to reach the toilet in time for a bowel movement, or stool may leak from your anus. Fecal incontinence can be caused by constipation, diarrhea, or anxiety or other emotional stress. It can also result from nerve injury, muscle damage (especially from childbirth), lack of exercise, or poor diet.
Treatment of fecal incontinence depends on what caused it and how bad it is. It may include changes to your diet, medicine, bowel training, or surgery. More than one treatment may be needed.
Loss of bowel control can be hard to deal with. You may feel ashamed or embarrassed, and you may not want to leave the house because you fear that you might have an accident in public. But treatment can help you better control your bowels and manage your incontinence.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:
Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:
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Current as of: March 22, 2023
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
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