Foods to Avoid With Fecal Incontinence


Fecal incontinence is the lack of control over your bowels. You may not be able to hold the bowel movement, or stool may leak from your rectum, sometimes when passing gas. There are several foods to avoid if you suffer from fecal incontinence, including caffeine-based drinks, smoked meats and dairy products.


  • According to the National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, more than 5.5 million Americans suffer from fecal incontinence. The condition affects both children and adults but is more common in women and older adults. Fecal incontinence is caused by several factors, including constipation, damage to the anal sphincter muscles, damage to the nerves of the anal sphincter muscles or the rectum, pelvic floor dysfunction, loss of storage capacity in the rectum and even diarrhea.

Caffeine-Based Drinks and Foods

  • One group of foods and drinks to avoid if you suffer from fecal incontinence is anything containing caffeine, like coffee, tea, soft drinks and chocolate. These foods and drinks relax the internal anal sphincter muscles and cause bowel leakage and release.

Cured, Smoked Meats and Greasy Foods

  • Cured and smoked meats, like sausage, ham and turkey, are another group of foods to avoid if you suffer from fecal incontinence. Fatty and greasy foods cooked in any type of oil should also be avoided. These foods are not only difficult for the body to digest, they also aggravate your rectum and cause your fecal incontinence to worsen.

Spicy Foods

  • Spicy foods inflame the anal sphincter muscles and rectum. Anything spicy should be avoided if you suffer from fecal incontinence.

Alcoholic Beverages and Dairy Products

  • Alcoholic beverages also relax the internal anal sphincter muscles and cause bowel leakage and release. Dairy products including milk, cheese and ice cream are also to be avoided if you suffer from fecal incontinence.

Fruits and Sweeteners

  • Fruits and sweeteners will also affect your fecal incontinence condition and should be avoided. Apples, bananas, peaches, pears and other fruits all aggravate the rectum. Sweeteners like sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol and fructose found in diet drinks, gum, candy and fruit juices also increase bowel leakage and release. Even sugarless candy and gums contain sweeteners, so avoid those snacks as well.

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