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How can anal sphincter damage cause fecal incontinence?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
If the internal anal sphincter -- contracted most of the time to prevent leakage -- is damaged, bits of stool can leak out without you being aware of it or able to control it. This fecal incontinence (unintended passage of stool) may occur at times of physical exertion or after you have had a bowel movement. If, on the other hand, the external anal sphincter muscles are damaged, you may be unable to squeeze hard enough or long enough to make it to the toilet. While you are rushing to the bathroom, incontinence may occur.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.