Fecal incontinence, according to the most used definition, is the involuntary loss of the stool or soiling at a socially inappropriate time or place . It is an important health issue that strongly affects patient quality of life and restricts their social activities. It is a common problem, with prevalence ranging from 2.2% to 15% in the community and up to 40% in nursing homes . The prevalence of fecal incontinence in neurological patients is higher than in the general population. Many neurological disorders are associated with fecal incontinence, and this chapter is a review of the current clinical knowledge regarding the pathogenesis and clinical findings. When considering the possible effects of central and peripheral neurological lesions on fecal continence, it is important to keep in mind that continence depends on intact neural pathways and normal function of the cerebral, spinal, and cauda equina centers, and peripheral nerves. It should be remembered, however, that signs, symptoms, and gastrointestinal dysfunction may differ from expectations by virtue of incomplete neuronal lesions, coexisting involvement of supraspinal or spinal centers, or damage to the distal parts of the autonomic or somatic innervation of the pelvic floor sphincter muscles.
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