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.
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
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 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
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:
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.
Read these related articles:
1. Here’s What Your Stool Can Tell You About Your Health
2. Here Is Why You Have a Green Poop
3. Warning Signs of Bowel Cancer You Shouldn’t Ignore
- Mayo Clinic. Fecal incontinence
- NHS. Bowel incontinence
- WebMD. Bowel incontinence
- Medicine Net. Hemorrhoids
- Drugs.com Fecal incontinence
- WebMD. Top 10 sources of fiber
- Gastroenterol Rep (Oxf). 2014 May; 2(2): 85–91
- Dig Dis Sci. 2005 Oct;50(10):1889-97
- J Ethnopharmacol. 2014 Mar 14;152(2):327-32
- Nutr. March 2007 vol. 137 no. 3 803S-811S
- WebMD. Kegel exercises