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Causes of Fecal incontinence

List of causes of Fecal incontinence

Following is a list of causes or underlying conditions (see also Misdiagnosis of underlying causes of Fecal incontinence) that could possibly cause Fecal incontinence includes:

More causes:see full list of causes for Fecal incontinence

Fecal incontinence Causes: Risk Factors

The following conditions have been cited in various sources as potentially causal risk factors related to Fecal incontinence:

Fecal incontinence Causes: Male-Female Gender Ratio

Gender of Patients for Fecal incontinence: More common in women...more »

Fecal incontinence: Related Medical Conditions

To research the causes of Fecal incontinence, consider researching the causes of these these diseases that may be similar, or associated with Fecal incontinence:

Fecal incontinence: Causes and Types

Causes of Broader Categories of Fecal incontinence: Review the causal information about the various more general categories of medical conditions:

Fecal incontinence as a complication of other conditions:

Other conditions that might have Fecal incontinence as a complication may, potentially, be an underlying cause of Fecal incontinence. Our database lists the following as having Fecal incontinence as a complication of that condition:

Fecal incontinence as a symptom:

Conditions listing Fecal incontinence as a symptom may also be potential underlying causes of Fecal incontinence. Our database lists the following as having Fecal incontinence as a symptom of that condition:

What causes Fecal incontinence?

Causes: Fecal incontinence: Fecal incontinence can have several causes:

  • damage to the anal sphincter muscles
  • damage to the nerves of the anal sphincter muscles or the rectum
  • loss of storage capacity in the rectum
  • diarrhea
  • pelvic floor dysfunction
(Source: excerpt from Fecal Incontinence: NIDDK)
Article excerpts about the causes of Fecal incontinence:

Muscle Damage

Fecal incontinence is most often caused by injury to one or both of the ring-like muscles at the end of the rectum called the anal internal and/or external sphincters. The sphincters keep stool inside. When damaged, the muscles aren't strong enough to do their job, and stool can leak out. In women, the damage often happens when giving birth. The risk of injury is greatest if the doctor uses forceps to help deliver the baby or does an episiotomy, which is a cut in the vaginal area to prevent it from tearing during birth. Hemorrhoid surgery can damage the sphincters as well.

Nerve Damage

Fecal incontinence can also be caused by damage to the nerves that control the anal sphincters or to the nerves that sense stool in the rectum. If the nerves that control the sphincters are injured, the muscle doesn't work properly and incontinence can occur. If the sensory nerves are damaged, they don't sense that stool is in the rectum. You then won't feel the need to use the bathroom until stool has leaked out. Nerve damage can be caused by childbirth, a long-term habit of straining to pass stool, stroke, and diseases that affect the nerves, such as diabetes and multiple sclerosis.

Loss of Storage Capacity

Normally, the rectum stretches to hold stool until you can get to a bathroom. But rectal surgery, radiation treatment, and inflammatory bowel disease can cause scarring that makes the walls of the rectum stiff and less elastic. The rectum then can't stretch as much and can't hold stool, and fecal incontinence results. Inflammatory bowel disease also can make rectal walls very irritated and thereby unable to contain stool.


Diarrhea, or loose stool, is more difficult to control than solid stool that is formed. Even people who don't have fecal incontinence can have an accident when they have diarrhea.

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Abnormalities of the pelvic floor can lead to fecal incontinence. Examples of some abnormalities are decreased perception of rectal sensation, decreased anal canal pressures, decreased squeeze pressure of the anal canal, impaired anal sensation, a dropping down of the rectum (rectal prolapse), protrusion of the rectum through the vagina (rectocele), and/or generalized weakness and sagging of the pelvic floor. Often the cause of pelvic floor dysfunction is childbirth, and incontinence doesn't show up until the midforties or later. (Source: excerpt from Fecal Incontinence: NIDDK)

Medical news summaries relating to Fecal incontinence:

The following medical news items are relevant to causes of Fecal incontinence:

Related information on causes of Fecal incontinence:

As with all medical conditions, there may be many causal factors. Further relevant information on causes of Fecal incontinence may be found in:


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