Faecal Incontinence

Faecal or anal incontinence is the complaint of involuntary loss of faeces and wind.

Causes

  • Pelvic floor weakness resulting from childbirth, chronic straining, older age and obesity.

  • Another cause of faecal incontinence is loose and runny stools.

  • Faecal incontinence can also be present in people with multiple sclerosis, following a stroke or spinal cord injury and Parkinson’s disease.

Signs & Symptoms

  • Awareness of involuntary loss of stool and/or wind

  • Presence of stool in underwear

  • Needing to wipe excessively following a bowel movement

Differential Diagnosis

  • Chronic constipation

PROmotion Assessment 

  • Achieving a regular bowel routine

  • Optimising stool type through dietary changes

  • Education on correct position to open bowels

  • Pelvic floor training with or without biofeedback

  • Regular exercise

  • Relaxation strategies

How to Manage

  • Achieving a regular bowel routine

  • Optimising stool type through dietary changes

  • Education on correct position to open bowels

  • Pelvic floor training with or without biofeedback

  • Regular exercise

  • Relaxation strategies

References

  1. Abbott, D., Atere-Roberts, N., Williams, A., Oteng-Ntim, E. & Chappell, L. C. 2010. Obstetric anal sphincter injury. BMJ, 341.