Faecal incontinence


Faecal (anal) incontinence is when you have accidental leakage of solid or liquid poo (faeces) or you are unable to control passing wind.

Faecal incontinence affects one in 25 (or four per cent of) women who have given birth. This can have a big impact on your quality of life. Many women find it so embarrassing that they don’t seek medical care; however, there are a range of treatments that can help you.

You are most likely to have faecal incontinence if you’ve given birth. This is because pushing in labour can damage the nerves and rings of muscles (called your anal sphincter) that help control the opening and closing of your bowels.

Other reasons why you might have faecal incontinence are:

  • constipation, with frequent straining to empty your bowels completely
  • a prolapse of your back passage (or rectum) where it ‘drops down’ through your bottom hole (or anus) and can cause soiling.
  • an inflammatory bowel disease, e.g. Ulcerative Colitis or Crohn’s disease
  • a fistula or haemorrhoids, or surgery in the past to correct one of these problems
  • a condition that affects your brain’s ability to send messages to your bowel, like Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or a stroke.
Faecal incontinence
Mercy Hospital for Women
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Heidelberg Victoria 3084

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