Fecal incontinence (FI), also known as anal incontinence, or in some forms encopresis, is a lack of control over defecation, leading to involuntary loss of bowel contents - including flatus (gas), liquid stool elements and mucus, or solid feces.
FI is a sign or a symptom, not a diagnosis. Incontinence can result from different causes and might occur with either constipation or diarrhea.
Continence is maintained by several inter-related factors, including the anal sampling mechanism, and usually there is more than one deficiency of these mechanisms for incontinence to develop.
The most common causes are thought to be immediate or delayed damage from childbirth, complications from prior anorectal surgery (especially involving the anal sphincters or hemorrhoidal vascular cushions) and altered bowel habits (e.g., caused by irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, food intolerance, or constipation with overflow incontinence).
FI is one of the most psychologically and socially debilitating conditions in an otherwise healthy individual, but it is generally treatable.
Urinary incontinence (UI), also known as involuntary urination, is any leakage of urine. It is a common and distressing problem, which may have a large impact on quality of life. It is twice as common in women as in men. Pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause are major risk factors. It has been identified as an important issue in geriatric health care.
Urinary incontinence is often a result of an underlying medical condition but is under-reported to medical practitioners. Enuresis is often used to refer to urinary incontinence primarily in children, such as nocturnal enuresis (bed wetting).
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