The loss of bowel control, also called fecal incontinence, is more common than you may think. Unfortunately, millions of people suffer every day from accidents and leaks. Some people may also experience a feeling of sadness and depression and may not want to leave their house for fear of having an accident.
This condition can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life, limiting your daily activities and affecting your relationships. However, some people avoid seeking treatment. This may be because of embarrassment or simply because they have been told that fecal incontinence is just part of getting older. Fecal incontinence is not a normal part of aging. It is a medical condition.
Fecal incontinence is different for everyone. While some people only have accidents now and then, others have them all of the time. People with fecal incontinence experience accidents like the inability to hold in gas, passing stool (waste matter from bowel) while passing gas, passing stool during normal activities or passing stool before reaching the toilet.
Fecal incontinence can be treated. While there is no quick fix for this condition, there are several options available. Treatments range from simple to more complex. Common treatments include:
*Dietary changes. Adding fiber to your diet can add bulk and make it easier to control your stool. Sometimes avoiding certain foods like coffee, tea or chocolate may help, as well.
*Medications: Medications help you to make bowel movements on a regular basis. They are called laxatives. Other medications slow down the movement of stool through the bowel.
*Bowel training: One kind of bowel training is called biofeedback.
*Exercise: Strengthening exercises, called Kegel exercises, can help control fecal leakage. Kegel exercises involve contracting muscles of the anus, buttocks and pelvis; holding as hard as possible for 5 seconds, then relaxing. A series of 30 of these exercises should be done 3 times a day.
*Injectable tissue bulking agents: Materials are injected to improve the bulk and thickness of anal walls. The injected medication is called Solesta. Dr. Klin is the only physician in the area who is treats incontinence in this manner and is trained to administer Solesta.
*In some cases, surgery is used to treat fecal incontinence. These procedures include; sphincterotomy, colostomy, sphincter replacement or sacral nerve stimulation.
Source: AMA Complete Encyclopedia, Copyright 2003, American Medical Association
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