Fecal incontinence (FI, also termed faecal incontinence, bowel incontinence or anal incontinence) is the loss of control of the bowels, leading to involuntary loss of flatus (gas), mucus, liquid and/or solid (feces or stool) bowel contents. FI lacks any globally accepted definition, but suggested definitions include: "the recurrent uncontrolled passage of fecal material in an individual with a developmental age of at least 4 years", "the inability to control feces and to expel it at a proper place and at a proper time", "the inability to prevent involuntary loss of bowel content", "the involuntary loss of rectal contents (feces, gas) through the anal canal and the inability to postpone an evacuation until socially convenient", or "any involuntary loss of feces that is a social or hygienic problem".
There are 3 main consequences of FI:
- The possible development of secondary conditions, e.g., skin maceration, urinary tract infections, or decubitus ulcers (pressure sores).
- Financial expense for both patients, related to medication, incontinence products, loss of productivity, and for employers (days off), and medical insurance (health care cost, unemployment).
- Decreased quality of life (self-esteem, embarrassment, shame, depression, need to organize life around easy access to bathroom, avoidance of enjoyable activities). Subjects relating to defecation are often considered a social taboo, thus those affected may be beset by feelings of shame and humiliation. Some do not seek medical help and instead attempt to self-manage the problem. This can lead to social withdrawal and isolation, which can turn into cases of agoraphobia. Such effects may be reduced by undergoing prescribed treatment, taking prescribed medicine and making dietary changes.
Most cases of FI can be improved, but health care professionals are often poorly informed about treatment options, and fail to recognize the perceived devastating impact of FI for patients.
Other articles related to "fecal incontinence, fecal":
... In cases of pseudoincontinence, a child is believed to suffer from fecal incontinence ... investigation shows that he or she suffers from severe constipation and fecal impaction ...
... Minor fecal incontinence and difficulty controlling flatulence are common side effects following surgery ... Persistent minor fecal incontinence has been reported in 1.2% to 3.5% of patients however, this does not appear to be significantly different to the rate ...
... Fecal incontinence, the involuntary loss of stool, can also be treated with sacral nerve stimulation as long as patients have intact sphincter muscles ... FDA has recently approved the approach for treating the fecal incontinence as well (March 2011) ...