About 5.5 million Americans suffer from fecal incontinence, a condition that causes a partial or complete loss of control over bowel movements. Although it’s more common in the elderly and women who’ve given birth, it can happen at any age.
Our team at Digestive Disease Consultants of Orange County has experience treating fecal incontinence and understands how distressing it is to sufferers.
We asked them all about fecal incontinence. Read on to learn how to prevent leakages, and find out what treatments are available to manage your condition.
Fecal incontinence can be caused by muscle damage, nerve damage, poor rectum elasticity, and frequent diarrhea or constipation.
Difficult childbirth and anal surgery can both cause muscle damage, and poorly controlled diabetes can lead to nerve damage. Poor rectum elasticity can develop as a side effect of radiation therapy.
Diarrhea and constipation are often caused by certain medications, digestive diseases, and intolerances to certain foods and drinks. Keeping a diary of what foods trigger diarrhea and constipation may help.
Frequent diarrhea and constipation can also be a consequence of small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO), a condition in which there’s too much bacteria in the small intestine, especially bacteria commonly found in other parts of the digestive system.
Sometimes fecal incontinence happens due to factors that are outside your control, such as surgery or prolapse. However, to improve your symptoms, you can take the following steps:
Adding more fiber to your diet or looking for foods that may be triggering your diarrhea or constipation can also help you get better control of your bowels.
Our specialists use imaging techniques to look inside your anus and rectum and detect what could be causing your symptoms. These tests can determine if your nerves are damaged and if there are any sources of inflammation.
Depending on the cause of your fecal incontinence, our specialists may recommend the following:
If you’re suffering from fecal incontinence, contact us to schedule an appointment. After a careful examination, our team will design a personalized treatment plan to decrease the severity of your symptoms and allow you to enjoy life without fearing leaks.