You don't have to live with bowel leakage. SLUCare offers solutions.
Fecal incontinence, also known as bowel incontinence, is a condition in which a person is unable to control bowel movements or has episodes
of stool leakage. There are many causes of fecal incontinence, including weakened
anal muscles, chronic constipation, complications from surgery, and more. Fecal incontinence
is more common in individuals over age 65 — particularly women.
Some patients are embarrassed and reluctant to talk about fecal incontinence with
their doctor. But SLUCare urogynecologists are fellowship-trained experts in treatment
of this condition. With a thorough evaluation of your symptoms and health history,
we can tailor a treatment plan that helps you regain control and restore your quality
Dietary modification and medication are often used as a first-line treatment for fecal incontinence or fecal urgency.
Changes in diet, such as assuring adequate daily fiber and water intake, can help
produce stool that’s easier to control. Over-the-counter medications, such as Imodium,
may also help with this process. Your SLUCare urogynecologist can advise on modifications
to help you achieve greater bowel control.
Pelvic floor physical therapy can help rehabilitate weakened pelvic floor muscles that contribute to bowel control.
It can also improve reaction time in response to the feeling of fecal urgency. Our
SLUCare team coordinates care with local specialists in pelvic floor physical therapy,
offering targeted training exercises to help you reclaim bowel control so you can
live life fully again.
A sacral nerve stimulator device (InterStim™) can be an effective treatment for fecal incontinence in certain patients. Surgically
implanted neuromodulation devices work by stimulating the nerves responsible for bowel
control. This treatment takes place in two stages: If a patient experiences symptom
relief in Stage 1, she is moved to Stage 2 for permanent implantation. Your SLUCare
surgeon can explain the benefits and risks of this treatment option.
Anal sphincter repair is a surgical procedure that aims to alleviate fecal incontinence by fixing a damaged
anal sphincter muscle. This may be offered as a stand-alone procedure or performed
as part of vaginal reconstructive surgery to address pelvic organ prolapse. Your SLUCare
surgeon can determine whether this procedure may be appropriate for you.