Faecal incontinence is a term used to describe leakage from the bowel due to poor bowel control. You may also find you have excessive wind or experience staining of your underwear. Poor bowel control can be caused or made worse by a number of things including certain health conditions or medicines taken for other problems.
Faecal incontinence is a result of poor bowel control. Factors that can lead to loss of bowel control include:
Visit your doctor or other health professional if you have concerns about bowel (or bladder) control. Difficulty with bowel or bladder control can be prevented, treated, better managed or cured. You shouldn't be embarrassed to discuss your bowel problems as many other people experience problems too.
The first step in improving bowel control is to have a full continence assessment carried out by a health professional. This assessment will take into account your medical history and current health, including diet and fluid intake, exercise levels and mobility, all the medicines you are currently taking, and any other factors that could affect bowel function. An individual bowel program will be planned for you to help solve problems such as constipation, diarrhoea or faecal incontinence. If your constipation problem does not improve, your doctor may organise more tests or refer you to one or more specialists in this area of health.
You should speak to your doctor if you have:
Incontinence is not necessarily a stand alone health condition and can be linked to many other major health conditions. In many cases, incontinence can be prevented by adopting healthy diet and lifestyle habits.
If you are caring for someone with bladder or bowel problems, practical tips and advice are available to assist you with your care. Read more on caring with someone with incontinence.
We have a number of fact sheets available for download on bladder and bowel health. Visit out Resources page for a more advanced search or have a look at some of the popular fact sheets below.