Bowel Incontinence

What is bowel incontinence?

Bowel incontinence is a very distressing condition for both men and women and often goes untreated because of a sense of embarrassment. But this does not have to be the case. Bowel incontinence involves the inability to control your bowel movements, and results in stool/feces to unexpectedly leak from the rectum. This issue can range in severity–from occasional leaks while you pass gas to complete loss of bowel control. While diarrhea is a common and short-lived cause of this condition, some people suffer from chronic or recurring bowel incontinence.

What are the causes?

Aside from diarrhea, fecal incontinence can also be caused by:

  • Injury or damage to the nerves that control the anal sphincter or the nerves that sense stool in the rectum. This nerve damage can be caused by a stroke, a spinal cord injury, childbirth, a constant straining during bowel movements, multiple sclerosis or diabetes.
  • Injury or damage to the muscles at the end of the rectum. This can be caused by childbirth, especially if forceps are used during delivery or if you have an episiotomy.
  • Constipation, especially chronic constipation since it can result in nerve damage. But constipation can also stretch and weaken your intestines and rectum.
  • A stiffened rectal wall or scarred rectum, resulting from radiation treatments, surgery or an inflammatory bowel disease.
  • Rectocele (for women), which occurs when the rectum protrudes through the vagina.
  • Rectal prolapse, which occurs when rectum drops down into the anus.

Additional risk factors include: age (it is more common among middle-aged and older people), nerve damage, dementia, and physical disability. Bowel incontinence is more common among women than men.

What are the symptoms?

  • Diarrhea
  • An unexpected leakage of stool
  • Constipation
  • Gas
  • Bloating

Diagnosis and Treatments in Torrance, California

We offer diagnostic workup for bowel incontinence with anal manometry testing to help diagnosis the cause. Treatments can include dietary changes, fiber supplementation, pelvic floor re-educationInterStim sacral neuromodulation, and/or anal sphincteroplasty. Schedule your appointment with Dr. Shelby Morrisroe today. We serve Torrance and the surrounding areas. Give us a call at (310) 542-0199 or schedule online.


*Individual results may vary; not a guarantee.

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We're happy to answer any questions you may have, feel free to call us at
(310) 542-0199