PURPOSE: The study aimed to describe modifications in diet and eating patterns made by community-living people to manage fecal incontinence (FI), and to compare these differences according to sex, age, and FI severity. SUBJECTS AND SETTINGS: Subjects were 188 community-living adults (77% female, 92% white, 34% aged 65 years or older) in the upper Midwest who participated in a study about managing FI with dietary fiber. METHODS: Subjects were interviewed about diet and eating pattern changes that they made to manage FI, and self-reported demographic data. FI severity was recorded daily. RESULTS: Fifty-five percent of participants perceived that some foods worsen their FI (eg, fatty or spicy foods and dairy products). More women than men (40% vs 18%, P = .008) reported avoiding foods to manage FI. A greater percentage of younger than older people believed that fatty/greasy foods (15% vs 4%) and alcohol (14% vs 3%) worsened their FI. Subjects with a higher FI severity score appeared to wait until FI was more severe before restricting caffeine than those with lower severity scores (22.2 = 9.8 vs 11.69 = 8.3, P =.034). One-third of subjects consumed foods rich in dietary fiber to prevent FI. Subjects also reported altered eating or cooking patterns, skipping meals, or eating at consistent times to manage FI. CONCLUSIONS: Diet modification for managing FI incorporates restriction of some foods, along with adding others foods to the diet. Nursing assessments of self-care practices for FI should include diet and eating pattern changes when developing a plan of care.