FECAL (BOWEL) INCONTINENCE
Fecal incontinence is the inability to control your bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from your rectum. It ranges from occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control.
Bowel incontinence affects more than five million Americans. Both men and women suffer from this problem, although it is more common in women because of the injury to the anal muscles or nerves that can occur during childbirth. In fact, one out of three women can suffer from sphincter muscle damage due to vaginal birth.
Embarrassment and the stigmata associated with bowel incontinence too often prevent people from seeking treatment. Women find that they alter their lifestyles to cope with this problem. It’s time to stop altering your life and seek treatment.
Pacific Coast Urology’s Bowel Control Center of Excellence can help!
WHAT CAUSES BOWEL INCONTINENCE?
Fecal incontinence occurs when the rectum, anus, pelvic muscles and nervous system do not function normally. The risk factors for bowel incontinence include age, poor overall health, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome and colon surgery.
Other contributing factors for bowel incontinence include:
- Chronic constipation that causes the muscles of the anus and intestines to stretch and weaken
- Chronic laxative use
- Severe and chronic diarrhea
- Severe hemorrhoids
- Rectal prolapse
- Complications from gynecological or rectal surgery
- Nerve or muscle damage from accident/injury
HOW IS BOWEL INCONTINENCE DIAGNOSED?
Women are encouraged to speak with their doctor before fecal incontinence becomes a chronic problem. Keep a stool diary (bowel history) for several weeks before your consultation is helpful.
A sample stool diary is available on the Bowel Control Awareness Campaign website at http://www.bowelcontrol.nih.gov/res_hcp.aspx
Dr. Pugach diagnoses bowel incontinence with a rectal ultrasound (endosonography) that shows him any abnormalities or tears in the anal sphincter muscles. Additional diagnostic tests may be ordered including;
Defecography – x-ray to visualize the shape and position of the rectum as it empties
Flexible sigmoidoscopy – test to examine the lower digestive tract with a thin, flexible, lighted tube (endoscope)
Manometry – test to determine the pressure and strength of the anal muscles for weakness
Nerve studies – analysis to look for damage to the sphincter muscles nerves
HOW IS FECAL INCONTINENCE TREATED?
Perhaps you have tried a combination of changes to your diet, medication, biofeedback, and exercise to help regain control of your bowels. But they have failed due to the degree of your bowel incontinence problem. If so, Dr. Robert Pugach offers rectal prolapse surgery to help patients regain control. Surgery may especially be indicated for women who have experienced anal muscle injuries which can occur during childbirth.
Don’t let your embarrassment stop you from getting help!
Call, 888.735.4336 or email us via our Contact Us form to schedule your personal consultation.