A doctor with fecal incontinence

How Many People Have Fecal Incontinence?

Fecal incontinence, also known as bowel incontinence, is characterized as an inability to control bowel movements and can range from stool leaking while passing gas to a total loss of bowel control. Many feel ashamed and try to keep their fecal incontinence hidden, but it is actually fairly common problem. 

About 18 million adults in the U.S experience bowel control problems each year. This means it affects as many as 1 in 12 people during some point in their lives. Although people of all ages experience fecal incontinence, it is more common among the elderly and in women. 

In the majority of cases fecal incontinence is caused by nerve damage or damage done to the muscles controlling your bowel movements. Impairment to these muscles and nerves is a common part of aging, but women who have had a vaginal childbirth are also more likely to experience fecal incontinence due to nerve damage to the pelvic floor. 

Last Updated: August 17, 2016

Have more questions? See more answers from Alot.