Faecal incontinence is the loss of regular control of the bowels leading to unplanned leakage of faeces. It is estimated that it affects up to 1 in 10 people at some time in their lives. It may result from not being able to get to the toilet quickly enough (urgency) or there may be leaking or soiling without being aware of it.

There can be a number of causes of faecal incontinence however it is almost always distressing and embarrassing to the patients and often difficult to talk about.

At your consultation you will be asked about your bowel habit, how often and when you have accidents, whether you have to rush to the toilet and whether your mobility makes this difficult, what medication do you take and whether there are any associated symptoms such as bleeding from the back passage, soreness, diarrhoea, abdominal pain or weight loss.

Investigation of faecal incontinence will include ruling out any underlying conditions such as bowel cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, or haemorrhoids and tests to check the sphincter muscles of the back passage. Advice will be given on ways to manage the problem as well as available treatments.