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Our Services / Fecal / Bowel Incontinence

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About Fecal / Bowel Incontinence

Fecal / Bowel Incontinence Q & A

Understanding Fecal / Bowel Incontinence

Bowel incontinence is the loss of bowel control, causing you to unexpectedly pass stool. This can range from sometimes leaking a small amount of stool and passing gas, to not being able to control bowel movements.  Experts believe that about 1 in  12 adults has fecal incontinence.  Although its not a normal part of getting older, people are more likely to have it as they get older.  Women are also more at risk for this condition than men are. 

If you plan your life around the bathroom, you are not alone.  Bowel problems like incontinence, frequency/urgency, and more can disrupt your life, your freedom and your confidence.  

When should I seek treatment

Call your healthcare provider to schedule an appointment to talk about fecal incontinence that is disrupting your quality of life.  

Symptoms of fecal incontinence

  • Leaking stool when you are not using the toilet, such as when coughing or passing gas.
  • Urgency- leaking stool before reaching toilet.

Causes of fecal incontinence

Fecal incontinence causes, among other things, may also include chronic illness, injury, surgery, diarrhea or constipation, diabetes, extensive inflammatory processes, tumors, obstetric injuries, and large hemorrhoids.

Diagnosing fecal incontinence

Diagnosing fecal incontinence includes a physical exam, your description of symptoms, imaging tests, your emotional and quality of life.  Your physician may ask you to keep a diary of your symptoms – click for link

Treating fecal incontinence

Treatment recommended for your fecal incontinence will depend on its cause.  Possible treatments include medicine, muscle training, biofeedback, electrical stimulation, anal plug, & surgery.

Carolina Digestive Health is happy to offer its patient population a bowel control therapy delivered by InterStim system which treats chronic fecal incontinence.  This treatment is recommended after other treatments such as medications, dietary modifications have failed, or you are not a candidate for them.  The InterStim option is different in that you can try it before deciding.  It is a reversable procedure performed at one of our endoscopy centers. 

The InterStim system is a small, implantable device that targets the sacral nerves that control your bladder or bowel.  It may help restore normal bowel function, giving you a long-lasting relief.  

Targeting the sacral nerves that control bladder and bowel function, the InteStim system benefits include:

  • A trial period with an external device, so you can try it before you commit.

  • An 89% improvement for patients experiencing bowel control symptoms.

Make an appointment with your provider to discuss your options, risks and have your questions answered.