Fecal Incontinence

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What is Fecal Incontinence?

Fecal incontinence, also called bowel or anal incontinence, occurs when you can’t control your bowel movements. It causes stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly. It can range from occasionally leaking stool while you pass gas to complete loss of bowel control.

You can expect sensitive, compassionate care from the colorectal experts at Baystate Health. We’ll work closely with you to determine the right treatment plan for your fecal incontinence.


There are many causes of fecal incontinence, including:

  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • A weakened anal sphincter due to aging
  • Damage to nerves or muscles in your rectum due to natural child birth
  • Large hemorrhoids
  • Congenital abnormalities

    If you’re experiencing problems with bowel control, your doctor will review your medical history and your symptoms. Your doctor may recommend imaging tests such as MRI or anorectal ultrasound.


Your treatment plan will be based on your symptoms and your goals.

Treatment options include:

  • Exercises to strengthen the muscles of your pelvic floor, also known as muscle training
  • Biofeedback to help you learn to control your bowel movements
  • Surgery to repair your sphincter
  • InterStim therapy, which is a type of sacral nerve stimulation or neuromodulation and can improve the communication in your body between your bowels and your brain
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