Do you plan your life around the bathroom?

You are not alone. Bowel problems can affect your life, your freedom and your self-confidence. Several treatments exist that can help improve faecal incontinence and reduce its impact on your life. Read on to learn more about faecal incontinence, including its causes, symptoms and treatments options.  


27 million people
are concerned by faecal incontinence1,2

How does bowel continence work?

How does it work

The ability to hold stool is called continence and requires the rectum, anus and nervous system to be working normally and in a synchronized manner.

How does it work

Stool is held in the rectum by two muscle groups, the internal and external anal sphincters. These muscles surround the anus and rectum and when contracted can stop the passage of stool.

How does it work

Normal continence also requires the ability to sense the presence of stool in the rectum (called rectal sensation) and to store stool (called rectal compliance).

What is faecal incontinence?

Faecal incontinence is the inability to control your bowel movements, which may have bothersome consequences. You may experience unexpected small or large leaks, use the bathroom very frequently, or have incontrollable urges to use the toilet. Some people experience a combination of these symptoms.


Is it common?

Faecal incontinence is more common than you’d expect, and it affects both men and women. Prevalence increases with age, but faecal incontinence is not confined to the elderly: one study showed 6.6% of individuals are affected by it1.
Experienced as a legitimate handicap, it puts patients in real distress, considerably altering their quality of life3.


What are the symptoms?

How does it work

Accidents, or faecal leakage outside of severe diarrhea

How does it work

Inability to hold gas

How does it work

Inability to control when and how often to use the toilet

How does it work

Difficulty reaching the toilet in time


Don’t forget that incontinence is treatable, you don't have to face it alone. Explore the following sections to find out more about faecal incontinence and existing solutions.

Talk to your doctor about your symptoms and how they affect your daily life. Your doctor will make a diagnosis based on your symptoms.


A medical professional sits with their patient, in their office to discuss test results

The information presented on this website is for information purposes only. It is not intended to replace a consultation with a healthcare professional.



Giebel, G. D., Lefering, R., Troidl, H. & Blöchl, H. Prevalence of fecal incontinence: what can be expected? Int. J. Colorectal Dis.13, 73–7 (1998).


Eurostat Data Explorer for EU28:


Meyer I, Richter HE. Impact of fecal incontinence and its treatment on quality of life in women. Womens Health (Lond). 2015 Mar;11(2):225-38. doi: 10.2217/whe.14.66. PMID: 25776296; PMCID: PMC4394646.).