What Are the Causes of Bowel Incontinence in Women?
Bowel incontinence, also known as faecal incontinence, refers to the condition where a person is unable to control their bowel movements. This can be a distressing and embarrassing condition that affects women of all ages for a variety of reasons.
While the causes of bowel incontinence in females can vary, it's essential to understand what they are so that you can seek appropriate treatment.
Let’s have a look over the most common causes of bowel incontinence in women.
1. Muscle damage and weakness
One of the most common causes of bowel incontinence in females is muscle damage and weakness. This can occur for a range of reasons such as childbirth, surgery, or ageing. When the muscles that control bowel movements are weakened, they may not be able to contract and relax properly, which can lead to uncomfortable leakage.
2. Chronic constipation
Chronic constipation can also lead to bowel incontinence in females. When constipation occurs, it can cause the muscles in the rectum to become stretched and weakened. This can make it difficult to control bowel movements. It can also lead to faecal impaction, where hard, dry stool becomes stuck in the rectum, making it difficult to pass and causing further damage to the muscles.
3. Nerve damage
Nerve damage can also be a reason behind bowel incontinence. The nerves that control the muscles in the rectum and anus can become damaged due to a variety of reasons, including childbirth, surgery, and conditions such as diabetes. When the nerves are damaged, they may not be able to send the proper signals to the muscles, leading to faecal incontinence.
4. Rectal prolapse
Rectal prolapse occurs when the rectum becomes displaced and protrudes out of the anus. This can cause faecal incontinence, as the muscles that control bowel movements may not be able to function properly due to the displacement. Rectal prolapse can occur due to chronic constipation, chronic diarrhoea, or weakened pelvic muscles.
Diarrhoea can be a common cause of bowel incontinence in females. When diarrhoea occurs, it can cause the muscles in the rectum to become overworked and weakened, making it difficult to control bowel movements. Additionally, diarrhoea can cause inflammation in the rectum and anus, making it even more difficult to control bowel movements.
6. Pelvic floor dysfunction
Pelvic floor dysfunction can cause bowel incontinence in females. The pelvic floor muscles are a group of muscles that support the pelvic organs, including the bladder, uterus, and rectum. When these muscles become weakened or damaged, it can cause problems with bowel movements, including faecal incontinence.
7. Sphincter damage
The anal sphincter is a muscle that helps control bowel movements. If this muscle becomes damaged due to childbirth, surgery, or other factors, it can cause faecal incontinence. Sphincter damage can also occur due to certain medical conditions such as inflammatory bowel disease or radiation therapy.
8. Neurological conditions
Certain medical conditions can also cause bowel incontinence in females. These can include neurological disorders such as multiple sclerosis (MS) or Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, and certain types of cancer. These conditions can damage the nerves and muscles that control bowel movements, leading to faecal incontinence.
What you should do if you are experiencing female bowel incontinence
As you can see, there are many causes of bowel incontinence in females. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it's essential to seek appropriate treatment to manage the condition. Treatment options may include medication, dietary changes, exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, or surgery in severe cases.
While you are waiting for treatment, it is important to make your day to day life as comfortable as possible. That’s why we offer a huge variety of products at Incontinence Shop, many designed specifically for women dealing with bowel incontinence. Whether you are looking for disposable and incontinence pads or washable body stockings and bodysuits, we have you covered.
Take a look at our range of incontinence products now.
Female Bowel Incontinence Resources