Anal Leakage (Leaky Anus): Causes, Symptoms and Effective Treatments

Anal Leakage (Leaky Anus): Causes, Symptoms and Effective Treatment
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Having a leaky anus can be an embarrassing condition whereby a person passes some stool or anal discharge unexpectedly or uncontrollably. The most common reasons for anal leakage are diarrhea or constipation, in which case the leakage will usually stop when your digestive system gets back to normal. However, leakage from the anus can also happen if you have hemorrhoids, damaged rectal muscles, or nerve damage. In these cases, the leaky anus could be a chronic condition that requires proper medical care and management.

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Anal leakage is sometimes called bowel incontinence, fecal incontinence or anal seepage. Some people only realize that they suffer from a leaky anus when they notice anal discharge on their underwear. The seepage may be watery stool or mucus that has passed unknowingly from the rectal muscles. Other people experience urge incontinence, where the urge to pass stool is so strong and sudden that they don’t manage to go to the toilet in time.

Depending on the reasons for bowel incontinence, there are different ways to treat a leaky anus. Some natural remedies to stop anal seepage help to treat the underlying digestive condition like constipation or diarrhea. Other cures for anal leakage require medical supervision to address the underlying medical cause. For example, in some cases, anal and pelvic exercises can strengthen the muscles in the rectum to hold stool until you get to the toilet.

The good news is that in most cases it is possible to stop stool leaking from the rectum and you can regain your confidence to care for your daily activities without any worry.

What is a Leaky Anus (Anal Leakage)?

The nerves and muscles in the anus and rectum work together to hold feces in the bowels. When the rectum is full, nerves send a signal to the brain that it is time to get rid of the stool. However, anal leakage occurs when either the anal muscles or nerves don’t work properly.

According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, bowel incontinence can be broken down into two types:1

  • Passive bowel incontinence. A person isn’t aware that they have passed stool and may only realize when they change their underwear. A person may also experience leakage from the anus when they pass gas.
  • Urge incontinence. This is a sudden urge to pass stool and the person doesn’t make it to the toilet in time. This can result in the whole bowel movement happening in the person’s clothing.

Causes and Symptoms of Anal Leakage (Anal Seepage)

There are many reasons for anal leakage and usually, it’s possible to find effective ways to treat the underlying cause of bowel incontinence. It’s important to find why your rectum can’t retain stool to know the best way to treat the condition.

Constipation

Constipation or impacted stool is a very common reason for having a leaky anus (anal leakage). Constipation can also cause pain in the lower left area of the abdomen as well as a lower back and stomach pain.

According to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom, impacted feces stretch the muscles of the rectum. This allows watery stools or mucus to leak past the hard stool and then accidentally pass out through the rectum.2

Diarrhea

There are many reasons why a person can suffer from diarrhea and it is a common cause of anal leakage.

The Mayo Clinic says that, in some people, the rectal muscles can’t hold watery stools very well. Therefore, the loose stools leak easily and can cause bowel incontinence.1 The anal discharge can also happen involuntarily when a person passes gas.

There are also a number of underlying health conditions that can cause diarrhea which might be a reason for experiencing anal seepage. Here are some of the most common reasons for diarrhea that causes anal leakage:

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  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Dr. Carol DerSarkissian on WebMD says that Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis can be a reason for frequent bouts of diarrhea.3 This could also cause anal leakage to happen during the night if you sleep through the urge to use the bathroom. These inflammatory bowel diseases can also lead to leaking mucus or blood from the rectum.
  • Gastroenteritis. Viruses or bacteria can infect the digestive tract and cause severe diarrhea and vomiting after eating and leaking a small amount of stool.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Another reason why you could pass stool unexpectedly because of diarrhea is having irritable bowel syndrome.

Hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids (piles) are swollen blood veins around the lower part of the rectum. They can cause pain, itching, bleeding and discomfort around your anus. According to Dr. Benjamin Wedro on MedicineNet, anal leaking can occur if the hemorrhoid is inflamed.4

Damage to the sphincter muscles

Any kind of damage to the muscles in your lower rectum can cause accidental bowel leakage. There are a number of reasons why the muscle damage occurs in the anus. Some of the most common reason why damaged muscles can’t prevent involuntary anal leaking are:

  • Damage to the sphincter muscles during childbirth when the muscles become stretched or damaged
  • Prostate or rectal surgery or radiation treatment
  • Some kind of trauma to the anal region
  • In some cases, inflammatory bowel disease can also cause damage to the muscles in the rectum5

Nerve damage

Passing or leaking a small amount of stool without realizing it can be caused by nerve damage. The fecal soiling happens because the nerves don’t control the opening and closing of the sphincter muscles properly. Some common reasons for anal leakage caused by nerve damage are:

  • Childbirth
  • Frequent and long-term straining to pass impacted stool
  • Diabetes
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease

Treatments of Anal Leakage

Passing stool or anal discharge unexpectedly or having a bowel movement in your underwear because you couldn’t make it to the toilet in time can be a traumatic experience. However, with the right treatment and medical management, you should be able to successfully treat the bowel leakage.

How to treat anal leakage caused by constipation

To prevent anal seepage which is caused by constipation and make your bowel movement regular, it’s important to make sure that you eat the proper kinds of foods.

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Studies into treating fecal incontinence suggest eating the right amount of fiber and drinking plenty of water if you have constipation.7

Eat fiber. If you suffer from constipation, it’s important to consume the right amount of fiber in your diet. Fiber helps the digestive system to work properly and soften stools. Director of Nutrition at WebMD, Dr. Kathleen M. Zelman recommends high-fiber foods like whole grains (e.g. brown rice, wholemeal pasta, and whole-wheat bread), nuts, beans, popcorn, and berries as great sources of fiber.

Drink lots of water. Water helps fiber to improve the way your digestive systems works. So, make sure and drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to help fiber soften impacted feces to prevent anal leakage. Drinking enough water is a great way to keep your body healthy.

For more helpful ideas on how to get rid of constipation naturally, please read my article on the many natural remedies for treating constipation. You will find out how coconut oil, probiotics, castor oil, and dried fruit can help to get relief from impacted stools and thus help to resolve a leaky anus.

Anal leakage from diarrhea

Having diarrhea is bad enough, but if the watery stool also seeps out without you realizing it, it can cause even more emotional discomfort. There are many natural remedies for diarrhea that help to reduce inflammation in your digestive tract and prevent anal leakage.

If you have diarrhea, it’s important to limit your intake of insoluble fiber (whole grains, beans, nuts, etc.) and increase your intake of soluble fiber (peas, bananas, carrots, apples, and oats) to help manage a leaky anus successfully.7

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Ginger. Ginger is a wonderful therapeutic root that has many health benefits. One of best uses for ginger is to calm gastrointestinal cramps and inflammation. Studies into ginger have shown that it’s a beneficial natural ingredient to calm stomach cramps.8

You can make a delicious tea by grating a 1-inch piece of ginger and letting it steep in a cup of boiling water for a few minutes. Drink the tea 2-3 times a day to help reduce inflammation in your digestive tract and cure anal seepage.

Chamomile tea. Chamomile is a calming herb that works to soothe the mind and your digestive system. Studies into the effects of chamomile tea in the treatment for diarrhea have shown extracts of the herb can help to reduce diarrhea symptoms.9

Probiotics. Probiotics may help to reduce anal leakage because they improve both the symptoms of diarrhea and constipation. Research into using probiotics for digestive issues have found that they effectively reduce symptoms of diarrhea caused by taking antibiotics, viruses, and bacterial infections.10

To find out more on how to stop diarrhea that may be causing anal leakage, please read my article about the various studies into natural cures for diarrhea.

Lifestyle changes to stop anal leakage

If you suffer from chronic or recurrent anal leakage, you may have to make some lifestyle changes to stop leaking stool on your underwear. Some of these lifestyle changes for treating a leaky anus include:7

  • Avoiding foods that cause gas and bloating if these cause any kind of seepage from the anus.
  • Avoiding spicy and fried foods as well as caffeinated drinks if they aggravate bowel incontinence.
  • Avoiding milk products that contain lactose to stop diarrhea and inflammation in the digestive system.
  • Drinking enough water to keep bowel movements regular.

Leaky anus caused by muscle damage

If your leaky anus has been caused by muscle damage, your doctor may suggest a series of anal and pelvic exercises to help strengthen the muscles. When your muscles are stronger, they can hold in stool and loose fecal matter more effectively.

Dr. Adam Husney on WebMD recommends Kegel exercises to strengthen pelvic muscles to prevent bowel incontinence. For more information on Kegels and practical advice on how to perform them, I have written an article on why Kegel exercises are so beneficial for strengthening your pelvic area.

Anal Leakage – Get Advice from your Doctor

As you can see, there are a number of reasons for suffering from a leaky anus and there are also a number of possible treatments. However, only a medical practitioner can determine the exact cause of the problem and suggest the most effective treatment.

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28 Responses to Anal Leakage (Leaky Anus): Causes, Symptoms and Effective Treatments

  1. Tina says:

    If you have had leakage from the anal since you had a Pap smear, can this test damage the muscle tissue to create such a problem?

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Pap smear should not cause a damage to muscle tissue. It may cause a temporary discomfort such as mild abdominal cramping or bleeding after this test, but not anal leakage.

  2. prince says:

    i have anal gas leakage since 2010.now in 2017 is becoming worse.my pants smells like pup but no fecal matter is seen

    • Jenny Hills says:

      This is not anal leakage. What you have is excessive gas. I’m not sure what causes you to have excessive gas, but it can be a sign of a digestive disorder like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), being lactose or gluten intolerant, or other issues. You can try these natural home remedies to relieve gas and bloating, but if you see no improvement, you will need to go to your doctor to find the underlying cause of it.

  3. Abby says:

    How do u keep clean if u are suffering from this uncontrollable leakage and can other people smell the smell it leaves?

    • Jenny Hills says:

      As you can see from the article, there are a number of reasons for suffering from a leaky anus and there are also a number of possible treatments depending on the cause, so the first step will be to identify the cause and treat it accordingly. Until the problem is solved, and since other people can smell the anal discharge, you need to make sure that you try and use the bathroom frequently even if you feel like you don’t have to go, and give yourself the time you need in the bathroom. This preventative measurement may prevent you from rushing to go in the future. If accidents occur, make sure you have spare underwear and pants and wipe the area thoroughly. You may need to wear disposable underwear designed for bowel incontinence that can catch any accidents and prevent odor. There are several options for such underwear, so you can choose the undergarment that you like the best or think is the most comfortable and easiest for you to use.

  4. edmund cummins says:

    hello im edmund tries every thing with my damp problem creams walking cycling had two operations botox injections still have problem eats all the right things no drink any one out there could help me thank you.

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Without knowing the cause of the problem it’s hard to give any advice. As you can see from the article, there are various causes for this problem, so identifying the root problem may help find a treatment plan for your specific case.

  5. David Joseph says:

    Good day, i feel wetness after stool,it stains my pants but gets dry after some times, its causes itching and discomfort. How can i go about this?

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Hi David, I’m not sure what causes you this condition and how long you have it. The treatment depends on the underlying cause, and as you can see from the article there might be several different causes for it. Since I’m not a doctor and it’s impossible to diagnose over the internet, I believe that if you had it for a while and it still continues, you’d be better to refer to your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

    • Krisu says:

      Hi David I am having the same issue like you. Have your disease been diagnosed?

  6. Ian Gattusso says:

    Hi Jenny
    My 7 year old boy was diagnosed with Hirschsprung’s disease and a pull through procedure was performed end of April this year. The problem he is having at the moment is that of leaking stool. How can he be assisted?

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Hi Ian, I’m not familiar with this condition and the procedures following it (I’m not a doctor) so unfortunately I’m unable to give specific advice. I believe that in special conditions it’s best to get a professional medical advice.

  7. Stacey Maxwell says:

    Can anyone help me, for the past seven years I smell like feces or like a sewer. I have been to several doctors with no relief. I tried diet change, proboscis, laxatives, results are always temporary.

    • dar says:

      Have you done tests for candida overgrowth? If that is the case, You should try a strict diet without gluten, lactose, and sugar. Get rid of stress and for 1to3 months drink regularly a glass water with baking soda. During Detox the symptoms get much worse, but they fade away. Had similar symptoms for 2 years, now I’m normal.

  8. Anon says:

    When I was younger I was constantly constipated and was having “adult sized” stools as a child. I still have irregular bowel movements and am not constipated as often. Sometimes after a bowel movement, there will be slight leakage up to a day after. I am wondering if I can just do some of the excersizes to strengthen the muscles, or should I definitely go to the Dr since it has been going on for so long.

  9. Rohan says:

    hello sir..i suffered from some internal irritation in anal..there is no leakage of fecal matter..but when i touch and apply forced at the end of anal then i feel pain very much…mainly sir i have prblem of internal irritation which make discomfort in sleeping…

    • Jenny Hills says:

      Hi Rohan, I’m not sure what exactly you have. Maybe you suffer from hemorrhoids? Please read my article about home remedies for Hemorrhoids to see if this is what you have. Otherwise it’s best to go to a doctor for a proper diagnosis and a treatment plan, as I’m not a doctor.

  10. Sharon says:

    Hi Jenny, my 8-year-old son has had a couple of episodes in which he thinks he has diarrhoea, but it’s just clear liquid that comes out – it doesn’t smell fecal at all. He can’t control it, and sometimes there is a fairly large wet patch in his pants. He feels absolutely fine otherwise – no stomach ache, eating normally, etc. He had this happen last year, and it lasted for a few days, and then stopped. It has just started happening again today. He also frequently complains of feeling like he has a ‘wet bum’ inside, but that’s pretty much all the time. Any ideas? He has regular bowel movements, so I don’t think he’s constipated. Worth taking him to the doctor? Thank you!

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      Hi Sharon, I have read that there can be various possible causes for such anal discharge, so I do believe it’s worth taking your son to the doctor as any unusual anal discharged should be addressed.

  11. Richard Droppens says:

    I would highly recommend wheat flour, unless of course you’re allergic to gluten.

  12. Kelly says:

    I have Myelomalacia which is causing bowel incontinence/anal leakage. The damage to my spinal cord is permanent, does this mean that my bowel incontinence is permanent too?

  13. Art says:

    Hi I have had anal itch and leakage for 8 years now. I have been to the doctor and have had an endoscopy and another scopy test and he says everything looks normal. I also have colitis that can be pretty much controlled if I do not drink coffee, which I love.Any ideas how I can stop the itching? and relief the have to go now times? thanks

  14. vally says:

    Hi good day, I frequently have this damp feeling around my anus. The problem is I leave some sort of wet substance on a chair when I stand up and its embarrassing.
    My friends once asked if I’m menstruating and I’m a male.
    Any hint on how to go about this will be highly appreciated.

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      As you could see from the article, the treatment for leaky anus depends on the cause of the problem. I’m not sure what causing you the leaky anus, but there is a need to find out the root cause of the problem. I also don’t know how long you have this issue. So it might be a good idea to discuss it with your doctor.

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