What Is Fecal Incontinence?

Fecal incontinence is the inability to hold your feces (stool or bowel movement) until you reach the toilet. It can refer to a small amount of leakage or the inability to control a full bowel movement.

It’s estimated that 1 in 12 adults experiences fecal incontinence. People with long-term diabetes, multiple sclerosis or other conditions that damage nerves are at a greater risk of developing fecal incontinence, as are people with physical disabilities and dementia. Fecal incontinence is not a normal part of aging, but you are more likely to have it as you get older. Women are at a greater risk for this condition than men.