Read below about involuntary defecation, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your involuntary defecation from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

This symptom can also be referred to as:
Accidental pooping

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9 Potential Involuntary Defecation Causes

Disclaimer: The article does not replace an evaluation by a physician. Information on this page is provided as an information resource only, and is not to be used or relied on for any diagnostic or treatment purposes.

  1. 1.Chronic Low Back Pain of No Specific Origin

    A precise anatomical cause for low back pain can only be identified in 20 percent of cases. The rest of the time, the specific cause of the pain is unknown, and is likely due to strain on the bones and muscles of the back from heavy lifting, prolong sitting, or bad posture. Chronic low back pain is characteristic of back pain lasting longer than 12 weeks.

    The prognosis of chronic back pain is highly variable, and heavily dependent on the individual. However, it is not a life-threatening condition and is expected to significantly improve with directed exercises and staying active.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, involuntary defecation
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin:
    lower back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin:
    thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Stress Urinary Incontinence

    Incontinence is a medical condition which refers to a person's inability to control when they urinate. Stress incontinence refers to unintentional leakage of urine caused by coughing, sneezing, laughing, or lifting something heavy.

    This condition may persist for months to years.

    Rarity:
    Uncommon
    Top Symptoms:
    involuntary defecation, recurring problem with leaking urine, urges to pee upon exertion or heavy breathing, waking up regularly to pee at night
    Symptoms that always occur with stress urinary incontinence:
    recurring problem with leaking urine, urges to pee upon exertion or heavy breathing
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  3. 3.Crohn's Disease Flare

    Crohn's disease is a chronic inflammation of the digestive system. It is one of a group of diseases called inflammatory bowel disease. Crohn's can affect any area from the mouth to the anus, and may cause diarrhea and weight loss.

    While Crohn's is a chronic disease for which there is no cure, it is not expected to reduce your life expectancy, especially with proper treatment.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Urgency:
    In-person visit
  4. 4.New Onset Crohn's Disease

    Crohn's disease is a disorder caused by chronic inflammation in the digestive tract. The damaging inflammation causes abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and malnutrition.

    Not expected to reduce life expectancy

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, constipation, abdominal cramps (stomach cramps)
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

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  5. 5.Celiac Disease

    Celiac disease is an immune disease in which gluten damages the small intestine. Avoid products containing gluten such as wheat, rye, & barley.

    Upon starting a gluten-free diet, nausea and bloating are likely to improve within a few days or weeks. It may take months or longer to feel completely better.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, stomach bloating, nausea, constipation, diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  6. 6.Adrenoleukodystrophy

    Adrenoleukodystrophy describes a family of closely related inherited disorders of fat metabolism. It is a condition that is passed down from parent to child and affects mostly males. People affected with the disease cannot break down certain large fats, which accumulate in the nervous system, adrenal gland, and testes as a result, disrupting normal activity.

    Adrenoleukodystrophy is a chronic genetic disease that requires lifelong management.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, vomiting, hearing loss, general weakness, involuntary defecation
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Cauda Equina Syndrome (Rapid - Onset)

    Although leg pain is common and usually goes away without surgery, cauda equina syndrome, a rare disorder affecting the bundle of nerve roots (cauda equina) at the lower (lumbar) end of the spinal cord, is a surgical emergency.

    Indefinite

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, back pain that shoots down the leg, leg weakness, thigh numbness
    Urgency:
    Emergency medical service
  8. 8.Microscopic Colitis

    Inflammation is the body's normal response to injury, irritation, or infection of tissues. Sometimes, this inflammation can happen abnormally, affecting normal tissue. Sometimes, this can happen in the intestines, which can cause chronic diarrhea.

    This can be a chronic condition with relapses. If treatment is started, symptoms usually resolve within a few weeks.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain (stomach ache), stomach bloating
    Symptoms that always occur with microscopic colitis:
    diarrhea
    Symptoms that never occur with microscopic colitis:
    bloody diarrhea
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Lower Back (Sacral Vertebral) Fracture

    A sacral stress fracture is a small break in the sacrum. The sacrum is a large triangular bone at base of the spine. The sacrum connects to the pelvis.

    Variable depending on severity

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, back pain that shoots down the leg, severe back pain, lower back pain from an injury
    Symptoms that always occur with lower back (sacral vertebral) fracture:
    lower back pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Involuntary Defecation

  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?
  • Q.Have you experienced any nausea?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, try our involuntary defecation symptom checker to find out more.

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Involuntary Defecation Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced involuntary defecation have also experienced:

    • 7% Abdominal Pain (Stomach Ache)
    • 7% Diarrhea
    • 5% Leaking Urine
  • People who have experienced involuntary defecation had symptoms persist for:

    • 52% Over a Month
    • 19% Less Than a Day
    • 16% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced involuntary defecation were most often matched with:

    • 3% Chronic Low Back Pain of No Specific Origin
    • 1% Stress Urinary Incontinence
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

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