Fecal incontinence occurs when a patient is unable to control bowel movements and stool leaks from the rectum. It can also occur when a person is unable to control gas and the condition may be accompanied by bloating, diarrhea, gas, and other bowel disorders.
Aging may contribute to fecal continence. As the body gets older, the muscles are not as strong as they once were and patients are no longer able to control their bowel movements as well. Fecal incontinence can also be caused by hemorrhoids, chronic constipation, diarrhea, a damaged sphincter muscle, nerve injury, anal infections, laxative abuse, or pelvic prolapse. The risk of fecal incontinence later in life is increased if damage occurs to the sphincter muscle during childbirth.
Our experienced doctors and health professionals understand that fecal incontinence can be a sensitive issue and we offer a variety of treatments and support for patients suffering from this disorder. Determining the cause of bowel incontinence is an important part of choosing the right treatment. Doctors use a variety of painless methods to determine the cause, including a digital rectal exam, anal manometry, anorectal ultrasonography, defecography, and colonoscopy. Once a cause is determined, treatment may include dietary changes, medication, rehabilitation for the sphincter, or even, surgery. With current treatment modalities, many patients who suffer from fecal incontinence can have a tremendous improvement in their quality of life.