Fecal incontinence in women: Causes and treatment

Ashima Makol, Madhusudan Grover, William E. Whitehead

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Fecal incontinence is a common problem in women, which often enforces life changes owing to embarrassment and social stigma. It is frequently not reported or diagnosed. Age, obstetric trauma, pelvic surgery, chronic diarrhea, obesity and other medical conditions, such as diabetes and stroke, increase the risk of fecal incontinence. Preventive strategies include avoiding diarrheal triggers, discouraging the routine use of episiotomies, early recognition and management of obstetric injuries and possibly pelvic floor muscle exercises after childbirth. Treatment options are available and should be discussed with the patient. These, in order of progression, are education and medications for diarrhea or constipation, supportive care, biofeedback training and surgery.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)517-528
Number of pages12
JournalWomen's Health
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2008


  • Biofeedback
  • Epidemiology
  • Fecal incontinence
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Prevention
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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