Is Fecal Incontinence a Symptom of Dementia?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 08, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

My mother is 74 and has mild to moderate dementia, She is on arecept and doing well . She has occasional fecal incontinance . I s this a symptom of dementia?


Expert Answers

Helene Bergman, LMSW, is a certified geriatric care manager (C-ASWCM) and owner of Elder Care Alternatives, a professional geriatric care management business in New York City. She consults with nursing homes and daycare programs to develop specialized programs for Alzheimer's patients.

Incontinence can be a symptom of many disorders and if your mother's fecal incontinence is a change, it is always advised to check this out with the physician to rule out any other cause. It could be a side effect of a new medication (i.e aricept) or an infection/flu. Incontinence of feces or urine may occur in early stages of dementia but it is much more common at a later stage when the individual loses awareness of familiar acts like toileting and cannot connect a feeling of urgency to the concept of having a bowel movement. Thus, in answer to your question, it might reflect the progression of the disease or indicate an acute situation.