The inability to control bowel movements due to constipation, diarrhea, or muscle and nerve damage in the lower part of the colon can cause fecal incontinence. When the muscles and nerves that control the rectum become weak, they cannot hold the stool in the bowel.
Following a medical history and a physical exam of the rectum, fecal incontinence can be diagnosed using:
NEXT: Treatment Options ›
- Anorectal ultrasonography – use of sound waves to capture pictures of the inside of the anus and rectum
- Proctography – allows for an X-ray of the rectum to be taken to determine how much stool can be held and how the stool leaves the rectum
- Proctosigmoidoscopy – use of a camera to examine the lower portion of the colon
- Anal manometry – use of an expanded balloon that is inserted into the rectum to measure the rectum’s function and sensitivity