About Light Accidental Bowel Leakage

Accidental Bowel Leakage or ABL (also known as Fecal Incontinence) is a very sensitive and personal condition that unfortunately is rarely discussed. Frequently even patients themselves withhold this information from their own physician because they are embarrassed and don’t want to discuss it. But ABL, particularly light ABL, is a common condition that affects millions of Americans of varying ages and health conditions.

In fact, a study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences found that in the United States 7.4% of adult men and 6.9% of adult women1 suffer from minor fecal incontinence defined as staining underclothes or leaking or losing less than 2 tsp of stool2.

Prevalence of ABL does increase with age, but anyone can experience Accidental Bowel Leakage and if you are one of them you are definitely not alone. Some common causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Muscle damage or weakness
  • Nerve damage
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Surgery
  • Childbirth
  • Diarrhea

But again…anyone can suffer from occasional or chronic ABL for a multitude of reasons. There is no reason to go on suffering. Speak with your healthcare provider about treatment options available to you.


1.  Drossman DA, Li Z, Andruzzi E, et al. U.S. Householder Survey of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Prevalence, Sociodemography, and Health Impact. Dig Dis Sci 1993;38:1569-80.

2.  International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (http://www.iffgd.org/)