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Fecal Incontinence: All You Need to Know

Fecal Incontinence: All You Need to Know
Akanksha Nigam

Fecal incontinence refers to occasional or total loss of control of bowel movements causing stool leakage from the rectum without warning. This affects women and the elderly more than men and young people. Instances of fecal incontinence could be like:

  1. Stool leakage while passing gas
  2. Leakage due to physical activity or exertion
  3. The urge to use the bathroom and not get there in time
  4. Presence of stool in the underwear after a bowel movement
  5. Complete loss of bowel regulation

Causes of Bowel Incontinence 

Common causes of fecal incontinence are:

  1. Diarrhea and constipation: These conditions weaken the muscles in the anus and rectum, leading to reduced ability to hold back stool.
  2. Muscle damage: This occurs with difficult vaginal childbirth when a small cut is made to make the opening larger. It could also happen due to anal or rectal surgery.  
  3. Nerve Damage: Childbirth, surgery, or constipation can damage the nerves and result in incontinence.

There are two types of fecal incontinence

  1. Urge Incontinence – This refers to a sudden urge to defecate that is too strong to be delayed.
  2. Passive Incontinence – Being unaware of the need to defecate.

Fecal Incontinence Treatment

Depending on the type and cause of incontinence, fecal incontinence treatment can include dietary changes, medication, bowel training, skincare, and surgery.

1. Dietary Changes

Avoid foods and beverages that can cause loose stools and instead consume a diet that includes those that thicken the stools.

Foods and drinks that should be avoided

  • Fruit juices and prunes
  • Beans and cabbage family vegetables
  • Spicy foods
  • Cured or smoked meats
  • Dairy products
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Alcohol
  • Caffeinated beverages

Foods that help with bowel incontinence

  • Bananas
  • Apple sauce
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Cheese

2. Medication

Medicinal options include anti-diarrheal drugs, bulk laxatives, and fiber supplements. The anti-diarrheal drugs decrease the movement of stool in the small intestine. Bulk laxatives are helpful if bowel incontinence is caused by constipation, while fiber helps to solidify stool.

Make sure to get your doctor’s approval before taking any medication. 

3. Bowel Training

If incontinence is due to muscle damage, your doctor may recommend exercises to regain muscle strength. These exercises improve anal sphincter control and increase awareness regarding the urge to use the bathroom.

There are two types of bowel training. The first type focuses on developing a bathroom usage pattern. Try to set up a routine to regulate and manage your bowel movements. For example, a daily enema at a fixed time will establish a routine and decrease unplanned incontinence episodes.

The second type includes bowel incontinence exercises, such as Kegels, to strengthen anal muscles. A trained therapist will also teach you to locate the correct muscles in order to perform the correct exercise. This is called biofeedback.  

4. Skin Care and Protection

Fecal incontinence also causes anal skin irritation due to constant moisture. Moisture barrier creams create a barrier film to protect the skin and keep it dry.

You can also invest in adult diapers for fecal incontinence. Wearing loose cotton clothing and underwear will also help keep the perineal area dry and comfortable. Perineal washes, wipes, and washcloths are great for maintaining comfort and perineal hygiene.

5. Surgery

When there is severe damage to the sphincter muscle caused by childbirth or rectal prolapse, your doctor might resort to surgery. The surgical options include colostomy, sphincteroplasty, ACE procedure, artificial bowel sphincter, and sacral nerve stimulation.

5 Best Products for Fecal Incontinence 

HPFY carries a wide range of quality products to aid with incontinence. Some of our best-sellers are:

1. Attends Butterfly Body Patches

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

Maintain personal hygiene with these body patches, which stick painlessly on the skin and protect from leakage and unplanned episodes of minor fecal incontinence. They are easy to apply, do not irritate, and do not interfere with daily activities.

Features of Attends Butterfly Body Patches

  • Neutralizes odor
  • Absorbent core prevents leakage
  • Gentle adhesive is easy on the skin
  • Winged design for simple application and removal 
Attends Butterfly Body Patches



2. Attends Premier Briefs – Overnight Absorbency

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

Designed to manage heavy urinary and fecal incontinence for a peaceful night's sleep. The high absorbency keeps the skin dry and wicks moisture away.

Features of Attends Premier Briefs – Overnight Absorbency:

  • Odor Protection for 8 hours
  • Wetness Indicating Strip
  • Resealable tabs for a secure fit
  • 100% breathable material
Attends Premier Briefs -Overnight Absorbency



3. kGoal Kegel Exerciser with Biofeedback

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

An interactive training system for women to help strengthen the core and bladder muscles. Great for post-partum recovery. kGoal Kegel Exerciser is splash proof which makes it easy to clean. It has an eco-friendly battery and is compatible with iOS and Android.

Features of kGoal Kegel Exerciser with Biofeedback

  • Real-time visual and tactile feedback
  • Track progress in the app
  • Includes guided workouts and games
  • Soft, flexible pillow  is customizable per body type
kGoal Kegel Exerciser With Biofeedback



4. BodyMed Analog 250 TENS Unit

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

A high-quality and affordable electrotherapy solution. This portable TENS unit is button-oriented, making it easy for older users. It provides relief by administering electrical signals safely and blocking pain from reaching the brain.

Features of BodyMed Analog 250 TENS Unit

  • 3 operating modes
  • Adjustable pulse settings
  • Timer included to pace healing
  • FSA Approved
BodyMed Analog 250 TENS Unit



5. Fleet Saline Laxative Enema

FSA Eligible Items FSA Approved

Get relief from constipation with this laxative enema. It draws water into the colon to produce a bowel movement and provides a soft stool mass. This enema is also ideal for bowel cleansing before a rectal exam.

Features of Fleet Saline Laxative Enema

  • Easy-to-use disposable bottle
  • Protective shield prevents contamination
  • Pre-lubricated and flexible tip
  • One-way safety valve to control flow and prevent reflux
Fleet Saline Laxative Enema



Coping with fecal incontinence requires some effort. Use the toilet before leaving home to avoid an unwanted episode in public, and carry a bag with extra clothes and supplies. You can also make dietary changes and try to regulate and build a routine. Consult with your doctor to learn more about how to manage fecal incontinence.

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Disclaimer: All content found on our website, including images, videos, infographics, and text were created solely for informational purposes. Our reviewed content should never be used for the purpose of diagnosis or treatment of any medical conditions. Content shared on our websites is not meant to be used as a substitute for advice from a certified medical professional. Reliance on the information provided on our website as a basis for patient treatment is solely at your own risk. We urge all our customers to always consult a physician or a certified medical professional before trying or using a new medical product.

HPFY Akanksha Nigam

Akanksha Nigam

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Akanksha Nigam has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. With a Masters Degree in Finance, she began her Marketing career in the banking industry. However, her interest in human ...

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