What Can Cause Fecal Incontinence?

by Brent Woods

Fecal incontinence is a problem where someone will not have full control over their bowel movements. It could only happen occasionally or be a problem with bowel control that you frequently deal with. Here is what you need to know about the causes of fecal incontinence.

Muscle Damage

Some people suffer pelvic damage while undergoing childbirth or surgery. These events end up impacting all of those nerves and muscles that help control their bowel movements. There are also medical conditions that can cause a similar reaction, such as a stroke, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis. It is unfortunate that another health condition can lead to fecal incontinence, but it is one of many side effects that can be seen since the body is all connected. 


Chronic constipation can also lead to fecal incontinence. This is because of how the muscles become stressed from constipation, and can eventually lead to weakness where bowel movements are no longer able to be controlled. If you are the type of person that strains while having a bowel movement, know that this behavior can also lead to nerve and muscle damage. 


Diarrhea is a condition that causes the anus and rectum to be inflamed and irritated, which leads to fecal incontinence because you are unable to control your bowels. There are more serious problems as well, such as irritable bowel syndrome that have a similar effect that is long-lasting instead of a passing moment. 


Bodies change a lot as people get older, where the muscles within the pelvis weaken. If the nerves that control your bowels become less effective, then you're going to have more frequent problems with fecal incontinence. For women, menopause can cause pelvic muscle weakness due to their body losing the estrogen that they used to produce when they were younger. 


It's important to know if the medications you take can cause fecal incontinence. This is often the case with tricyclic antidepressants and SSRIs since they have well-known side effects that can cause it. The same can be said of antipsychotic medications. Anti-inflammatory drugs are also known to cause gastrointestinal problems, as well as calcium channel blockers and diuretics. 

Do you feel like you're having issues with fecal incontinence? Reach out to a doctor in your area that specializes in this condition for assistance with determining the cause of the problem. For more information on fecal incontinence, contact a professional near you.