Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Frequently Asked Questions about Bowel Incontinence

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Frequently Asked Questions about Bowel Incontinence

Article excerpt

Since its establishment in 1991, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) has been dedicated to addressing issues that surround life with gastrointestinal functional and motility disorders in adults and children. Here, the IFFGD takes on the subject of bowel incontinence. For more information about this hidden condition, visit their website at www.aboutIncontinence.org.

What is bowel incontinence? Bowel incontinence is the inability to delay defecation in a controlled manner. It is also referred to as fecal incontinence, anal incontinence, soiling, or lack of bowel control.

Why does incontinence occur? Many conditions can contribute to the development of incontinence. Childbirth, constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), pelvic or anal surgery, neurological diseases, traumatic injuries, and radiation treatments for certain cancers are some of the conditions that can affect continence.

Who is likely to develop incontinence? Many otherwise healthy, active men, women, and children live with incontinence. Although it is often associated with aging, it is not a normal part of the aging process.

How common is incontinence? At least 6% of the general population lives with incontinence. It occurs in 6% of women younger than 40 and in 15% of older women. Between 6% and 10% of men experience incontinence, with a slight increase with age. Individuals with incontinence are often reluctant to report their symptoms, therefore, the condition is believed to be widely under-diagnosed and hidden in our society. …

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