Bowel incontinence prevents you from controlling when and how often you go to the bathroom. You may experience unexpected losses, small or large, going to the bathroom very often, having difficulty getting your bowels empty, or experiencing a feeling of incomplete defecation. Some people experience a combination of these symptoms.
Causes and Risk Factor
There are several causes of changes in bowel function. It can be a structural cause, such as muscle or nerve damage caused by surgery, pregnancy or injury. Some medications affect the functioning of the intestines. Other pathologies and diseases, such as diabetes and Parkinson’s disease, can also lead to bowel incontinence.
Signs and Symptom
Most adults who have fecal incontinence experience this condition during an occasional episode of diarrhea. However, some people have recurrent or chronic fecal incontinence. They may not be able to resist the urge to defecate, which is so sudden that they cannot make it to the bathroom in time. This is called imperious incontinence. This is called passive incontinence.
Fecal incontinence may be accompanied by other intestinal problems, for example:
- Gases and swelling
When to consult with the doctor?
Consult your doctor if you or your infant develop fecal incontinence. Often, new mothers and other adults are reluctant to talk with doctors about fecal incontinence.
Treatment and Management
Depending on the symptoms of fecal incontinence, options include:
- Antidiarrheal medications such as loperamide hydrochloride (Imodium) and diphenoxylate and atropine sulfate (Lomotil)
- Mass-forming laxatives such as methylcellulose (Citrucel) and psyllium (Metamucil), if chronic constipation is the cause of your incontinence
- Injectable mass formers such as microspheres Dextranomer/sodium hyaluronate in 0.9% NaCl (Solesta) which are injected directly into the anal canal
Changes in diet
Excessive eating and drinking affect the consistency of the stool. If constipation is causing fecal incontinence, the doctor may recommend you drink plenty of fluids and eat foods that are high in fiber. If diarrhea contributes to the problem, foods high in fiber can also add bulk to the stool and make them less watery.
- Exercises and other therapies
- Training of the intestines
- Stimulation of the sacral nerve
- Vaginal balloon