Losing control of your bowels can be distressing. It is a common problem but patients don’t always seek treatment due to embarrassment. It can negatively impact your day-to-day life. Finding treatment can help you do the things you love again. At ACE Clinic, we can help explore your best options with an understanding and professional approach.
When you hold a stool or pass a bowel movement, it requires the synchronization of many different muscle groups and nerves. Fecal incontinence can happen when this process doesn’t work as it needs to. This can result in a loss of control of your bowels. Fecal incontinence can range from occasional leakage to complete loss of control.
It’s common to sometimes lose control of your bowels if you have severe diarrhea. However, people with fecal incontinence can have more frequent accidents along with symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, or cramping. Episodes of fecal incontinence can range from stool leakage (either undetected or during certain activities), an inability to hold gas, or even being unable to reach the bathroom in time. In severe cases, you may completely lose control of your bowels.
There are many different causes of fecal incontinence, but they generally come down to an inability to control the pelvic floor muscles. For example, the sphincter muscles may weaken as you get older or as a result of childbirth. Conditions like Crohn’s disease or anatomical problems with the rectum or anus can also cause incontinence.
Fecal incontinence is very treatable with the help of your colorectal expert.
Initial treatments are conservative and include medications and avoidance of certain foods (like caffeine, dairy, spicy foods, artificial sweeteners, or greasy foods). Incorporating more fiber into your diet can help too.
Additionally, your doctor can recommend certain exercises that can help strengthen the anal muscles and train your body to recognize the urge to pass a bowel movement. If conservative management fails to improve the symptoms your colorectal surgeon can discuss further diagnostic modalities and surgical approaches to treatment of fecal incontinence.
Although it can be embarrassing to seek treatment for fecal incontinence, our team at ACE Clinic is always here to help.
Fecal incontinence doesn’t have to negatively impact your daily life. To meet with our team and learn more about your options, we invite you to contact us by calling or filling out our online contact form.
- What are the first signs of bowel incontinence?
Fecal incontinence refers to the involuntary loss of gas or liquid stool, called minor incontinence, or the involuntary loss of solid stool, called major incontinence.
- Does bowel incontinence go away?
Sometimes conservative management and help alleviate the symptoms
- How can I firm up my bowel movements?
Increasing fiber in your diet can help bulk up your stool which makes it easier to control.
- How common is bowel leakage?
Surveys indicate that it affects between 2 and 7 percent of the general population, although the true incidence may be much higher since many people are hesitant to discuss this problem with a health care provider
- How do I tighten my sphincter muscle?
Pelvic floor physical therapy and exercises can help strengthen the pelvic floor and anal sphincter muscle, it might not be enough to alleviate fecal incontinence completely.
- Are there adult diapers for fecal incontinence?
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Please do not hesitate to call us at 602-844-5157 or fill out our online form if you have a question, or would like to schedule an appointment.