6 Symptoms of Fecal Incontinence

Although it’s a topic from which most people shy away, fecal incontinence is a common problem, affecting 2% of children and up to 33% of adults. The rate of fecal incontinence is even higher among older adults, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders. Fecal incontinence is caused by a variety of conditions, including hemorrhoids, muscle damage, surgery, and rectal prolapse. 

Regardless of the cause, we know that fecal incontinence can be embarrassing, but there’s no need to hide your frustrating symptoms from us. Here at Alabama UROGYN in Fairhope, Alabama, Dr. Robert C. Brown and our experienced team provide the treatments you need to improve fecal incontinence and restore your quality of life.

Not sure if your symptoms are caused by fecal incontinence? Below, we share the six common symptoms of fecal incontinence and how treatment can help alleviate them.

How do you know if you have fecal incontinence?

The six most common symptoms of fecal incontinence are:

  1. Passing stool unexpectedly
  2. A sudden and intense urge to pass stool (and the inability to hold it)
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Gas (including leaking stool while passing gas)
  5. Feeling bloated 
  6. Constipation

However, because these symptoms can be associated with other conditions, Dr. Brown first diagnoses the condition before creating a treatment plan. Diagnosing fecal incontinence is done after:

Once you have an accurate diagnosis, Dr. Brown explains your treatment options.

What to do if you notice these symptoms?

Speak up! Speaking up is one of the most important things you can do if you notice the signs of fecal incontinence. You might feel embarrassed at first, but the reality is that the condition is treatable. 

As a board-certified urogynecologist, Dr. Robert Brown offers the most innovative solutions for fecal incontinence, including sacral neuromodulation therapy. We offer Axonics® and InterStim™ sacral neuromodulation therapy. Sacral neuromodulation therapy provides symptom relief by restoring normal bowel control. 

The therapy promotes communication between your bowel/bladder and brain through gentle nerve stimulation. Therapy with Axonics eliminates the need for oral medication. Instead, a small implantable device delivers the stimulation you need for up to 15 years. Likewise, the InterStim sacral neuromodulation therapy works the same way, by stimulating your nerves in an effort to regain control over bowel function.

Though 93% of individuals who received sacral neuromodulation therapy were happy with their progress, it isn’t the only option. Other treatment options may include medication, lifestyle change (such as increasing your fiber intake), physical therapy to support your pelvic floor muscles, and surgery. Surgery is recommended as an option for severe cases that don’t respond to other less-invasive treatments. However, surgical procedures can provide long-lasting relief. 

If bowel incontinence is affecting your life, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to explore your treatment options, feel free to call our office today. You can also schedule your visit online today.

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