What is faecal incontinence (FI)?

The Mayo Clinic describes faecal incontinence (FI) as the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool (faeces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum.

Also called bowel incontinence, faecal incontinence ranges from an occasional involuntary leakage of stool while passing wind, to a total loss of bowel control. Some people feel the urge to have bowel movements but are unable to reach a bathroom in time. Others don't experience the sensation of a pending bowel movement and completely lose bowel control.   

It's important to know that faecal incontinence isn't a condition or illness in itself, but rather a sign or symptom of a condition.

Even though it’s generally not life-threatening, it can have a negative impact on self-esteem, emotional health and quality of life. The upside though, is that it's not a normal part of ageing and is usually treatable.

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