Causes and Diagnoses
Causes and Diagnoses of Fecal Incontinence
Fecal Incontinence can be caused by a number of conditions, including:
- Congenital (present at birth) abnormalities
- Infections, injuries or diseases of the nervous system
- Damage to the colon, rectum or anus from injury or surgery
- Vaginal childbirth
- Pelvic floor weakness
- Rectal prolapse (rectum bulging down into the anus)
- Rectocele (rectum pushing into the vagina)
- Crohn disease or ulcerative colitis
- Side effect of medication and food additives
- Alzheimer's disease
Diagnosing fecal incontinence
Diagnosis of fecal incontinence begins with a thorough physical exam and description of your symptoms. To determine the cause of the fecal incontinence, your physician may use:
- Anal manometry: A pressure-sensitive tube is passed through your rectum to measure pressure inside your anus and rectum.
- Multi-resonance imaging (MRI): This test uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create pictures of your anus and rectum.
- Anorectal ultrasound: Ultrasound testing uses reflected sound waves to create images of the inside of your body. Unlike an X-ray or CT scan, there is no ionizing radiation exposure.
- Proctography: This type of X-ray determines how much stool you can store in your rectum and how your body handles stool.
- Proctosigmoidoscopy: An endoscope (long, flexible tube) with a lighted camera is inserted in your rectum and lower intestine, allowing your physician to view any scars or inflammation.
- Anal electromyography: This tests looks for nerve damage in the rectum and pelvic floor.