Bowel incontinence is the loss of bowel control, causing you to pass stool unexpectedly. This can range from sometimes leaking a small amount of stool and passing gas, to not being able to control bowel movements. Urinary incontinence is when you are not able to control passing urine. It is not covered in this article. Children who have problems with leakage due to toilet training problems or constipation may have encopresis. The rectum, anus, pelvic muscles, and nervous system must work together to control bowel movements.
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Bowel incontinence: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia
The internal anal sphincter , IAS , or sphincter ani internus is a ring of smooth muscle that surrounds about 2. Its action is entirely involuntary , and it is in a state of continuous maximal contraction. It helps the Sphincter ani externus to occlude the anal aperture and aids in the expulsion of the feces. Sympathetic fibers from the superior rectal and hypogastric plexuses stimulate and maintain internal anal sphincter contraction. Its contraction is inhibited by parasympathetic fiber stimulation. This sphincter is tonically contracted most of the time to prevent leakage of fluid or gas, but is relaxed upon distention of the rectal ampulla, requiring voluntary contraction of the puborectalis and external anal sphincter. It is very important for bowel continence, especially for liquid and gas.
The internal sphincter is primarily responsible for ensuring that the anal canal is closed at rest [14, 38]. The other contributors to anal resting tone include the external anal sphincter, the anal mucosal folds, and the puborectalis muscle. Penninckx et al. These figures should be regarded as estimates, because they were obtained, in part, from complex studies in which anal resting pressure was sequentially recorded before surgery i.
Medically reviewed by Drugs. Last updated on May 13, When stool feces leaks out from the rectum accidentally, it is known as fecal incontinence.