Fecal incontinence (or bowel leakage) is a very common problem for women. And now we have treatments available for it that are changing lives. Many previously suffered with this problem in silence, but that doesn’t need to happen any longer.
Bowel leakage is most commonly encountered by women and it can happen at any age. Most commonly it presents after age 50. Patients may have leakage of stool, either liquid or solid, that causes them to need to wear a pad. Bowel leakage can be life altering and I have seen many women who were afraid to leave their homes due to the fear of having an accident.
In the past, there weren’t many treatments available for people with fecal incontinence. But, that has changed for the better over the last few years. While we previously only had surgery on the bowel sphincter (anal sphincter) or a colostomy to offer, things are different now.
One treatment that has been a true life-changer for many people is called sacral nerve stimulation (SNS or Interstim). This is a device that acts on the nerves that control the anal sphincter. It is placed during an out-patient procedure. We have seen very dramatic results with sacral nerve stimulation. It has allowed many women to be able to live a normal life and not worry about the possibility of having a bowel accident while being out and about.
There are not a lot of diagnostic studies normally needed prior to treatment.
Not everyone needs surgery for bowel leakage. There are several medication options to be tried and the one thing that does help many people is increasing the amount of fiber in their diet. And for patients whose main complaint is diarrhea, it does typically help to treat that first as well.
If you’re having accidental bowel leakage, click here or call (615) 329-7933 for an appointment.
Dr. Bill Harb