Bowel incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum. Also called fecal incontinence, bowel incontinence ranges from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control.

Common causes of bowel incontinence include diarrhea, constipation, and muscle or nerve damage. The muscle or nerve damage may be associated with aging or giving birth.

Whatever the cause, bowel incontinence can be embarrassing. But don’t shy away from talking to your doctor about this common problem. Treatments can improve bowel incontinence and your quality of life.


  • 1 in 12 people suffer from bowel incontinence
  • 70% of people who suffer from bowel incontinence stop taking their medication within six months due to intolerable side effects or unsatisfying results
  • Bowel incontinence can be embarrassing and cause depression