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What products can I use to manage leakage due to fecal incontinence?

Anthony L. Komaroff, MD
Internal Medicine
Absorbent products, such as pads and disposable undergarments, are designed primarily for urinary incontinence, and people with fecal incontinence often find them unsatisfactory. Of the range of choices available, those that provide "heavy" protection are most likely to be helpful for fecal incontinence. According to the limited studies available, disposable products with super-absorbent materials may provide the best protection and be easiest on your skin.

There are also fecal collection devices (such as Bard FCD and Hollister), which are pouches that adhere to the skin around the anus to collect uncontrolled stool leakage. These devices control stool odor and can drain off liquid into a separate bag. To order such products, contact a medical supply house or catalog.

Anal plugs contain fecal incontinence by blocking the passage of stool. Limited research on these devices suggests that they are not always easy to live with. However, they can be an effective primary or occasional management technique for some people. Devices made of polyurethane (such as Peristeen, available in Canada) seem to perform better than those made of polyvinyl alcohol. Anal plugs are primarily used by people with diminished anal sensation and those with significant neurological impairment from injury or illness.

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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.