Bowel control problems can be embarrassing. However, they are probably more common than you realize. They affect about 18 million adults in the U.S. That means that one out of every 12 people struggle with these embarrassing health problems.
Bowel problems affect people of every age. They are often caused by a health problem. In addition, overall poor health with multiple, long-term chronic illnesses may affect regularity.
Women are more commonly affected than men. During childbirth, the pelvic floor may be injured. If the muscles, ligaments, and tissues which support the pelvic floor are weakened, it may lead to bowel control problems.
Bowel control problems can be extremely distressing. Unfortunately many women are too embarrassed to talk about them with a health care provider. Speaking up and talking about these problems is the first step toward having healthy bowel habits. A urogynecologist, a physician trained in treating pelvic floor disorders, can offer help to women experiencing bowel control problems.
Original publication date: May 2008; Content updated: November 2014