Accidental Bowel Leakage (ABL) is Surprisingly Common Study Shows

Fifteen million women over the age of 40 experience ABL. 
Accidental Bowel Leakage is a surprisingly common problem. Particularly in women over age 40. According to the U.S. Householder Survey of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders: Prevalence, Sociodemography, and Health Impact, fifteen million women over the age of 40 experience ABL, and 50% of those women do not speak up about it. 

This shows while accidental bowel leakage is a common problem, it is not a commonly talked about problem. And that is a whole other problem.

ABL is unexpected, and happens at inconvenient times. For most it is not severe; in a study published in the journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences, it was reported that in the U.S., 7.4% of adult men and 6.9% of adult women suffer from minor fecal incontinence defined as staining underclothes or leaking or losing less than 2 teaspoons of stooll2. Ninety percent of people with ABL experience light to moderate leakage. But that does not mean it is not inconvenient, frustrating, and bothersome.

ABL is often related to problems such as IBS, obesity, diabetes, menopause, prostate treatment, factors related to aging, and even childbirth. Many of the cases of ABL can be treated and corrected, or at the very least symptoms improved, if treatment is sought quickly.

It is time to change the statistics. It is time to speak up. Talk to your healthcare provider. You are not alone. Many individuals, particularly women will experience ABL before age 60. And there are things that can be done to improve the symptoms for all types of ABL. But not if you don’t seek treatment.

Despite the personal nature of ABL, it is time to start a conversation so the symptoms can be managed, and the problem addressed. It will not go away on its own. The treatment options vary from case to case, and depend on the cause and severity. For some a change in diet is all it will take to improve symptoms. For others medication, surgery, or muscle exercises may be required.

Your healthcare provider can help to determine the cause. Whether that is muscle damage from childbirth or a surgery, or because of chronic diarrhea, or something else entirely, tests can be administered to pinpoint. And a plan to correct the problem can be put into place. There are steps that can help people live more comfortably, have more control, and live well!

Get the facts at and start a conversation today with your healthcare provider. There is help, you just have to ask for it. 

Butterfly provides 2X the absorbency of any other anal leakage pad. 
In addition to getting help from your healthcare provider, the right absorbent products can help make managing ABL easier. On January 30, 2014, Butterfly body liners were selected as the most innovative new consumer product using nonwovens receiving INDA’s Visionary Award. Butterfly® pads provide discreet, secure protection for accidental bowel leakage (ABL). Butterfly® provides 2X the absorbency of any other anal leakage pad. Only Butterfly® has gentle adhesive that stays in place for comfortable protection.

Learn more about Buttefly body liners or call 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST to get a sample pack. A sample pack will contain 6 body liners.

Further Reading: 

Article contributed by Dianna Malkowski,
Physician Assistant and Nutritionist

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