Fecal Incontinence

When stool (feces) leaks out from the rectum accidentally, it is known as fecal incontinence. Under normal circumstances, stool enters the end portion of the large intestine, called the rectum, where it is temporarily stored until a bowel movement occurs. As the rectum fills with stool, the anal sphincter muscle (a circular muscle surrounding the anal canal) prevents feces from coming out of the rectum until it is time to have a deliberate (controlled) bowel movement.
To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »