Due to the embarrassment and stigma associated with fecal incontinence, many people may find it challenging to open up about it. At Lone Star Gastroenterology, the specialists offer judgment-free physical exams and treatments. The team supports and encourages you throughout your journey to recovery.
What should you know about fecal incontinence?
Fecal incontinence is a medical condition that limits your ability to control your bowel movements. This condition can cause stool leakages, embarrassing you in public. If you have mid fecal incontinence, you may notice minor leakages of feces when passing gas. An advanced form of this disorder may prompt you to empty your bowels without warning.
Accidental bowel leakage may not cause alarm, but it can dramatically affect your social life. Fecal incontinence may prevent you from enjoying your favorite social activities because of the fear of embarrassment. Informing your doctor about this disorder is the first step to overcoming it.
When should you inform your doctor about fecal incontinence?
You may experience temporary bowel incontinence during a bout of diarrhea, but if it persists, you may need medical help. Your bowel incontinence may also be accompanied by diarrhea, gas and bloating, and constipation. People who suffer from this health condition may find it difficult to control their urge to defecate, such that they do not make it to the toilet in time. If fecal incontinence causes emotional distress, do not be embarrassed to inform your provider. Early detection of fecal incontinence increases the chances of success for your treatment.
What factors contribute to fecal incontinence?
The most prevalent causes of bowel incontinence are damage to the anal sphincters during vaginal childbirth. Your disorder may result from several causes, including chronic constipation, rectal prolapse, hemorrhoids, rectocele, and anal surgery. Older adults are also at a greater risk of developing bowel incontinence due to their weak bowel muscles. If you have gone through radiation treatment in the past, your muscles may stiffen, leading to fecal incontinence. If left untreated, this embarrassing disorder may deteriorate, leading to complications such as ulcers around your anus.
What are the available treatment options for fecal incontinence?
During your appointment, your physician may conduct a comprehensive medical exam to determine the root cause of your health condition. If you have a mild form of fecal incontinence, your provider may recommend taking plenty of fluids and eating high-fiber foods to improve constipation.
You may also need to avoid straining when defecating to prevent further damage to your sphincter muscles. Your treatment plan may also include medications, depending on the cause of your incontinence. Antidiarrheal drugs may relieve diarrhea-related incontinence, while laxatives address constipation-related incontinence.
Your provider may also evaluate your meals to determine the foods that may worsen your health. The team may advise cutting out greasy, fatty snacks and eating more fiber. If you have fecal incontinence, don’t be shy to seek medical help because you are not the only one going through that struggle.
Call your most trusted provider or schedule an appointment today to begin your treatment.