Strategies to Manage Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence, or bowel incontinence, is the inability to control one’s bowel movements, resulting in fecal matter leakage. For millions of individuals, it’s a frustrating and unpleasant situation. The good news is that Lone Star Gastroenterology has effective treatment options to help you manage fecal incontinence and enjoy your life.

Understanding fecal incontinence

Whether you sometimes leak stool or have lost control of your bladder, fecal incontinence often arises from dysfunction with your rectum and anus muscles.

Your rectum has to be able to stretch to hold the feces, and your anal muscle must be able to close appropriately until you reach the bathroom to relieve yourself. Failure of bowel control may manifest in various forms:

Urge incontinence

Most people experience this problem when they are overcome with an intense need to defecate but are unable to get to a restroom in time to do so.

Passive incontinence

If you have this kind of incontinence, you may not notice leaks until it’s too late to do anything about it. As a result of passive incontinence, it may not be easy to detect whether your rectum is full.

 Constipation, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas may accompany fecal incontinence.

Causes of fecal incontinence

Fecal incontinence may result from a variety of factors. Your doctor can help you figure out what’s causing your fecal incontinence. Common causes of fecal incontinence include;

  • Muscle or nerve damage from childbirth
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Prolapse of the rectal tube
  •  Rectocele

Fecal incontinence is more frequent in adults 65 or older since the muscles in your intestines become weaker with aging. If you have undergone a surgery like radiation that forces your muscles to stiffen, you can also be at an increased possibility of developing fecal incontinence.

Treatment and management alternatives

There are different treatment options for fecal incontinence, but they differ based on the underlying cause of your illness. Some of the treatment options include;

Diet changes

List everything you eat and drink for several days to see if any of the food is the source of your condition. Consuming caffeinated drinks, alcohol, fatty food,  dairy products, spicy food, and dairy goods might aggravate incontinence as well as cause gas and diarrhea in the bowel.

Dietary adjustments, such as eating more fiber-rich meals may also assist with incontinence caused by constipation. Drinking extra water may also soften feces, making it easier to pass.

Therapies and exercises

Strengthening your pelvic floor muscles with physical therapy, such as biofeedback and Kegel exercises, may help you release stool while supporting your bladder and intestines.

Bowel training is a technique for ensuring that you have bowel movements at set periods throughout the day. Other treatments include radiofrequency therapy, posterior tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS/TENS), and sacral nerve stimulation with InterStim™.

Medications and surgery

If diarrhea is the cause of your fecal incontinence, anti-diarrheal medications may aid, and bulk laxatives can help with severe constipation. Surgical alternatives include colostomy, Sphincteroplasty, and surgical treatment of hemorrhoids, prolapse,  and rectocele problems.

Don’t allow the shame of fecal incontinence to keep you down any longer. Contact your specialist to get the treatment you deserve for fecal continence.