Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence can be defined as the inability to hold a bowel movement until reaching a bathroom. It may be associated with:

Causes: Diarrhea, constipation, damage to pelvic muscles or nerves, aging, childbirth, physical injury, diseases or conditions such as IBS or Crohn’s disease, or weakened pelvic floor muscles. It affects people of all ages, and is most common in women and in older adults. The key to successful bowel control treatment depends on correctly diagnosing the underlying problem.

Treatments: May include management options such as absorbent products, lifestyle changes such as diet modifications, behavioral treatment options such as bowel retraining, pelvic muscle exercises and biofeedback, or medical treatment options including medications, sacral nerve stimulation/Interstim therapy or various other surgeries.

Pelvic floor muscle dysfunction is a common contributor to bowel control issues and can lead to:

Biofeedback is often used to work on these issues. It is a simple, painless teaching technique which provides on-the-spot information (or feedback) about your pelvic floor muscle control, strength, endurance and ability to relax the muscles. Small biofeedback sensors connected to a computer. Signals from your muscles tightening and relaxing are displayed in a graph format for you to see, and are interpreted and explained to you by your biofeedback specialist. This, combined with daily home exercises (Kegels), bowel retraining techniques, urge suppression techniques, and diet/fiber/fluid modification often leads to significant improvement in bowel control.

Severe fecal incontinence or those with other [*co-morbidities] may require more advanced treatment. Your physician will team with you to decide on the most appropriate and effective treatment options to help control your symptoms and improve your quality of life.