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Treatment Fecal Incontinence

Fecal incontinence is the inability to control your bowels. When you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, you may not be able to hold it until you can get to a toilet. Or stool may leak from the rectum unexpectedly.

More than 5.5 million Americans have fecal incontinence. It affects people of all ages—children as well as adults. Fecal incontinence is more common in women than in men and more common in older adults than in younger ones. It is not, however, a normal part of aging.

Causes

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Fecal incontinence can have several causes:

  • constipation
  • damage to the anal sphincter muscles
  • damage to the nerves of the anal sphincter muscles or the rectum
  • loss of storage capacity in the rectum
  • diarrhea
  • pelvic floor dysfunction

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask health-related questions and do a physical exam and possibly other medical tests.

  • Anal manometry checks the tightness of the anal sphincter and its ability to respond to signals, as well as the sensitivity and function of the rectum.
  • Anorectal ultrasonography evaluates the structure of the anal sphincters.
  • Proctography, also known as defecography, shows how much stool the rectum can hold, how well the rectum holds it, and how well the rectum can evacuate the stool.
  • Proctosigmoidoscopy allows doctors to look inside the rectum for signs of disease or other problems that could cause fecal incontinence, such as inflammation, tumors, or scar tissue.
  • Anal electromyography tests for nerve damage, which is often associated with obstetric injury.

 

Source

National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse, USA.