Bowel incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements. It's a common problem, especially among older adults. Accidental bowel leakage is usually not a serious medical problem. But it can seriously interfere with daily life. People with bowel incontinence may avoid social activities for fear of embarrassment. Fecal incontinence ranges from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control. Damage to muscles and nerves may occur directly at the time of vaginal childbirth or after anal or rectal surgery. Neurologic diseases such as stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, and spina bifida can be potential causes of fecal incontinence. Complications of diabetes can also cause peripheral nerve damage leading to incontinence. Patients with inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and irritable bowel disease may develop fecal incontinence. Stool seepage is different than fecal incontinence.