What Is Bowel Incontinence?

Bowel incontinence, or accidental bowel leakage, is a condition where people get sudden urges to pass stool and experience leakage of stool before they make it to the restroom.

Bowel Incontinence Symptoms

You may be suffering from bowel incontinence if:
Urgency Icon

Fecal Urgency

You experience sudden urges to pass stool

Urgency incontinence icon

Urgency Fecal Incontinence

You experience an inability to stop the urge to pass stool

Frequency icon

Passive Bowel Incontinence

You experience leakage of stool with activity or without awareness

Did you know that patients can suffer from dual incontinence?
Dual incontinence is when a patient is experiencing both bladder and bowel control symptoms.

Your journey to find the treatment solution that works for you


  • Discuss your symptoms
  • Start a baseline bowel diary
  • Undergo recommended diagnostic tests
  • Discuss treatment options


  • Diet changes
  • Sphincter and pelvic floor exercises
  • Over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications
  • Pessary
No symptom improvements?
Don’t give up!

Follow up with your doctor to discuss advanced therapy options


  • Minimally Invasive
    • Sacral Neuromodulation
  • Invasive
    • Surgical Sphincter Repair

Bowel Incontinence
Patient Care Pathway

Your doctor and his or her clinical team will follow a patient care pathway, which is a roadmap of the different treatment options available to you. The pathway starts with conservative treatments and then moves on to the advanced therapies.

Hear From the Experts

Rebecca McCrery, MD, FPMRS

Rebecca McCrery, MD, FPMRS

If we think overactive bladder is a hard thing for patients to bring up with a physician, fecal incontinence is even worse. Nobody really wants to bring up the fact that they’re accidentally passing stool. That’s a hard one for people to even bring up with anybody. We’ve had limited strategies to treat the problem, so we’ll often start with pelvic floor exercises, behavioral modifications, and optimizing fiber. Beyond that, our treatment options have historically been limited. It’s been a challenging condition from a standpoint of getting patients to talk about it. Sacral Neuromodulation is a great proven, long-term treatment option for these patients.

I think it’s really helpful if patients are familiar with the variety of treatment options up front. I think oftentimes, patients will stop seeking care for this problem because it doesn’t seem like there are any other options left. It’s really helpful to give a patient an idea of where we might be going early on, so that they recognize, “Hey, there’s a reason to come back. There’s a reason to continue this. Just because I didn’t get better with step one, doesn’t mean that there’s not another option for me.”

Real stories. Real results.

Bernadette M.

Doris K.
71 years old

I adjusted my whole life by limiting myself from drinking and eating. Now I don’t have to.

Doris had suffered with overactive bladder and bowel symptoms since 1987. “The thing that stands out in my mind the most is that this has gone on for so many years and I had to adjust my whole life.” Finally, with Sacral Neuromodulation therapy from Axonics, Doris got her symptoms under control and was able to say “goodbye” to wearing pads!

Be Strengthened. Be Supported.

Want to connect with a real patient to learn about their story and
results with Axonics Therapy?

Get the conversation started

Take The Quiz. Find A Specialist.

Do you experience any of the following bowel and/or bladder control symptoms?
(Choose all that apply)


We are here to help answer any questions you may have about Axonics Therapy.


1. Ditah I, Devaki P, Luma HN, et al. Prevalence, trends, and risk factors for fecal incontinence in United States adults, 2005-2010. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2014;12(4):636-43.e432. doi:10.1016/j.cgh.2013.07.020

2. Pezzella A, McCrery R, Lane F, et al. Two-year outcomes of the ARTISAN-SNM study for the treatment of urinary urgency incontinence using the Axonics rechargeable sacral neuromodulation system. Neurourol Urodyn. 2021;40(2):714-721. doi:10.1002/nau.24615