Fecal Incontinence

Also known as: FI, incontinence, bowel incontinence, bowel control problems, fecal soiling.

What is fecal incontinence?

When a child does not have control over their bowel movements (past the age of toilet training- at least 4 years of age), and leaks solid or liquid (or mucous) stool from the rectum at unexpected times, it is known as fecal incontinence.

What causes fecal incontinence? 

Fecal incontinence arises from abnormal sensation, motility or muscular problems of the anorectal area. Sensation can be affected in spina bifida, paraplegia and damage to the anal canal after surgery. Motility can be affected in neurological conditions and idiopathic disorders. Muscular problems that produce fecal incontinence occur in caudal regression syndromes, and anorectal malformations.

What are the symptoms of fecal incontinence? 

The primary symptom is leaking of the stool unexpectedly, which can range in frequency and severity. Foul smelling gas, constipation and abdominal pain can also accompany fecal incontinence. Social problems arise in most children that are not effectively managed with a bowel management program.

What are fecal incontinence care options? 

The option is to clean the colon daily with enemas. This is part of the bowel management program. Several adjustments can be made in order to modify the motility. Once a good regimen has been established an appendicostomy can be created in order to give the enemas in a more comfortable way.


Reviewed by: Juan L Calisto, MD

This page was last updated on: 9/4/2018 3:22:39 PM

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