Fecal Incontinence Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

About 25% of the women we see for bladder control problems also suffer from bowel control problems.

Some of them have accidents because they can’t make it in time, and some because they don’t even know they had to go. An inability to control your bowels can lead to embarrassment, depression, and a lower quality of life.

Fecal incontinence (FI) is the inability to control bowel movements, resulting in an involuntary bowel movement. Fecal incontinence can range from a small leakage to a complete loss of bowel control. This condition can be embarrassing and, unfortunately, many women suffer in silence and are reluctant to share their medical concerns even with their own physician.

This condition is actually more common than you might think, affecting about 1 in 12 people in the United States.


If you’re experiencing fecal incontinence, you may be suffering from:

  • Frequent bowel accidents
  • Feeling like you’ve never finished wiping
  • Finding smears/stains in undergarments
  • Planning activities around the bathroom
  • Monitoring what and how much you eat
  • Anxiety, depression, and embarrassment


The same nerve overactivity that can cause overactive bladder can also be the source of issues with your bowels. In some patients, this overactivity is a result of trauma during childbirth or the result of chronic constipation, diarrhea, chronic conditions (IBS, diabetes, celiac), and/or reduced physical mobility.

Fecal Incontinence Treatment

Doctors usually try conservative treatments first, like dietary modifications, medications, and physical therapy.

These conservative therapies may work for some, but many patients will need advanced therapy, such as InterStim®, to find relief. InterStim® has become the gold standard for many physicians for treating chronic bowel control problems and clinical studies show that nearly 90% of patients will experience long term success.

If you want to get help for your bowel control problems, schedule a consult with Dr. Taylor today so you can regain control and regain your life.

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