Treating Fecal Incontinence
Millions of Americans suffer from fecal incontinence. This urologic condition can be a humiliating experience for patients when it happens in public places. Remember that it’s a medical problem—not a character flaw. If you’ve ever lost bowel control, visit a urologist right away to get the medical treatment you need to regain your dignity and health. Your treatment plan will depend on the underlying cause of your condition.
Fecal incontinence can be caused by constipation or diarrhea. If you’re experiencing diarrhea, your doctor can offer guidance on adding high-fiber foods to your diet. A fiber supplement might also be a good idea. If the problem is constipation, your doctor may recommend increasing your intake of water, as well as eating more high-fiber foods.
Medications can be another strategy for treating fecal incontinence caused by constipation or diarrhea. Patients with chronic constipation may be prescribed a bulk laxative or an injectable bulking agent. Otherwise, an anti-diarrheal drug can help.
Before considering a surgical option, your doctor will likely recommend a therapeutic treatment to improve your control of the anal sphincter. One example is the use of biofeedback, which can help you learn how to strengthen the anal muscles and pelvic floor muscles. You’ll also increase your awareness of the urge to defecate and work on contracting the muscles if you aren’t ready to defecate. Bowel training is another therapy that may be helpful. It involves getting on a defecation schedule to help you better control your bowel movements. If neither of those options has been helpful for you, your doctor may recommend surgery.
Surgery can help patients who suffer from fecal incontinence due to an underlying structural problem. In other words, if the cause is a damaged anal sphincter, the urologist can perform a sphincteroplasty to strengthen the muscle. Sometimes, a muscle from the inner thigh may be grafted to the area to improve control.
Fecal incontinence is one of the many conditions we can treat here at Urology Associates, P.C. We understand the limitations that incontinence can place on our patients in Tennessee, and we want to help you reclaim your quality of life. Call us today at 888-656-0667.