Accidents happen. It’s a part of life! But, accidents shouldn’t happen often, nor should you be afraid of consistently being on the verge of an accident. If this is the case, then your lack of control may be caused by something a bit more serious than just having eaten a bad lunch, it may have to do with what we call bowel incontinence - also known as fecal incontinence.
Bowel incontinence describes the loss of control over bowel movements that a person may experience, an occurrence that oftentimes results in either leakage of stool or the complete loss of bowel control. If this sounds at all familiar with what you or someone you know is experiencing, and you want to learn more about bowel incontinence and what causes it, here are 3 of the main reasons for bowel incontinence.
Cause Of Bowel Incontinence #1: Fecal Impaction
Fecal impaction happens as the result of a disruption in the process of digestion. Normally, food passes through the stomach and into the intestines, which then absorb nutrients from the food. The food that is considered waste is left behind and passes to the colon, then the rectum.
Sometimes, though, the waste gets stuck in the colon, dries and is unable to pass through the colon. Causes for this include chronic constipation, not eating enough fiber, physical inactivity, not drinking enough water, or certain medications such as opioids or sedatives.
Cause Of Bowel Incontinence #2: Pelvic Floor Dysfunction
Pelvic floor dysfunction is the inability to control the muscles, ligaments, and nerves in the pelvis. This area, called the pelvic floor, includes the bladder, rectum, and uterus or prostate. All of these allow us to contract or relax in order to control bowel movements and urination.
When pelvic floor dysfunction occurs, these muscles contract but then cannot relax, making it very difficult to have a bowel movement. Some causes of pelvic floor dysfunction include childbirth, traumatic injury to the pelvic area, obesity, pelvic surgery, or nerve damage.
Cause Of Bowel Incontinence #3: Hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are swollen or dilated veins located on the interior or exterior of the rectum. The swollen veins form little pockets that can be very painful and in some cases may cause damage to the rectal sphincter.
This damage may prevent the rectal sphincter from closing completely, which can cause fecal leaking or complete fecal incontinence. Some common causes of hemorrhoids include chronic constipation, diarrhea, eating a low-fiber diet, or obesity.
Suffering from bowel incontinence can be embarrassing, but that shouldn’t stop you from visiting a colorectal specialist. With treatment, bowel incontinence is manageable, therefore you won’t have to continue experiencing the discomfort and uncertainty of this condition. To schedule an appointment with one of our colorectal specialists, contact us today!