Fecal Incontinence Causes,
Symptoms and Treatment

Fecal incontinence affects millions of people around the world – but you would not

know this by the lack of discussion surrounding the subject.

Fecal incontinence is an ongoing inability to control the passing of feces or mucus from the rectum.

About one in ten adults will experience fecal incontinence at some point in their lives.

Older women often face the most chronic cases.

The condition can be unpredictable and embarrassing and often makes people afraid

to leave their homes in case there is an accident.

Many factors can contribute to fecal incontinence in varying degrees of severity.

Despite this, there are ways to control and treat fecal incontinence so it does not take over your life.

What Causes Fecal Incontinence?

Some of the most significant factors that may increase the risk of developing fecal incontinence include:

Vaginal Childbirth

Labor and delivery can cause injuries that weaken the anal sphincters. The chances of injury are greater if a woman has a large baby, if she requires vacuum assistance or forceps or if she has an episiotomy


Loose, watery stools fill your rectum quickly and are harder to hold inside than solid stools.


Constipation means it is difficult to pass feces. Ongoing straining can stretch and damage muscle and nerve tissues.


Hemorrhoids can prevent the muscles around your anus from completely closing. Small amounts of stool or mucus can leak out. Surgery to remove hemorrhoids can also impair rectal function.

Rectal Prolapse

Rectal prolapse— a condition that causes your rectum to drop down through your anus— can also prevent the anus from closing completely, allowing small amounts of stool or mucus to leak out.

Pelvic Floor Weakness or Injury

If the muscles in your anus, pelvic floor or rectum are injured or weakened, they may not be able to keep your anus closed, letting stool leak out. These muscles can be affected by surgery or trauma.

Nerve Damage

If the messaging that controls your anus, pelvic floor and rectum can not be communicated properly, muscles will not work the way they should.

Neurologic Diseases

Neurologic diseases that affect the nerves of the anus, pelvic floor or rectum can cause fecal incontinence. These diseases include dementia, stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and type 2 diabetes.


Rectocele is a situation in which the rectum bulges out through the vagina because of weakened pelvic muscles. When rectal function is compromised, it can lead to fecal incontinence.

Loss of Stretch in the Rectum

A scarred or inflamed rectum can lead to dysfunction. If the rectum is only able to hold a small amount of stool, it can fill quickly and leak. Rectal surgery, radiation therapy in the pelvic area and inflammatory bowel disease can cause rectal scarring and inflammation.

Physical Inactivity

Sitting or lying in one place all day means that your digestive system may not be getting the stimulus it needs to function optimally. Larger volumes of stool may build up in your rectum and then leak. This incontinence trigger is typically seen in the elderly.

What is InterStim®?

InterStim® Therapy is an FDA-approved neurostimulation therapy that targets the communication problem between the brain and the nerves that control bowel function.

How Does InterStim® Work for Fecal Incontinence?

The InterStim® device is implanted under the skin during a minimally invasive surgical procedure. The device sends electrical impulses to stimulate the sacral nerve, which is located in the lower back just above the tailbone. This nerve directly controls signals sent between the brain, the bowel and the surrounding muscles. By stimulating the sacral nerve, InterStim® manages the impulses to evacuate, and these impulses are more easily controlled. InterStim® successfully treats both the urgency and frequency of fecal incontinence.

Why the Coyle Institute for InterStim® Therapy?

Dr. Michael Coyle has been performing InterStim® surgeries since the procedure was approved by the FDA in 2011. He is the go-to provider of InterStim® for doctors across the Pensacola area. As a urogynecologist, Dr. Coyle offers comprehensive care of every pelvic organ to ensure that they are all working in harmony.

Do not let fecal incontinence run your life. Take it back! Call Coyle Institute today to schedule your consultation with our compassionate team.