Fecal incontinence can cause embarassment, fear, and loneliness. Don't let that stop you from seeking help for this disorder. Contact Gail Cooper-Parks, RN, Health Navigator, at (561) 263-4437 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fecal incontinence, also called a bowel control problem, is the accidental passing of solid or liquid stool or mucus from the rectum. It affects nearly 18 million adults in the United States. This disorder can affect people of any age but is most commonly found in older adults and is slightly more common in women.
The inability to control your bowels can be upsetting and embarrassing. Many people feel ashamed and don’t want to discuss this problem. It is important to talk with your healthcare provider, because fecal incontinence is not a disease itself but rather a symptom of another problem. It is often treatable with lifestyle changes, medication or surgical repair of damaged sphincter muscles.
Fecal incontinence includes the inability to hold a bowel movement until reaching a toilet as well as passing stool into one’s underwear without being aware of it happening.
The most common causes of fecal incontinence are:
Symptoms can range from occasional leakage of stool (liquid or solid) and gas to the inability to hold a bowel movement until you reach the toilet. Other symptoms include diarrhea and constipation.
It is important that you see a physician to discuss your medical history, have a physical exam and discuss your symptoms. You may be referred to a physician who specializes in problems of the digestive tract such as a gastroenterologist or colorectal surgeon.
They may suggest one or more of the following tests:
Treatment options include:
The Center for Excellence in Digestive Health at Jupiter Medical Center can help you address this embarrassing issue. Our health navigator can assist you with finding a qualified physician to evaluate and treat this disorder. We have a full range of services to assist with the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder including: