What is fecal incontinence?
Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements. This condition can range in severity, from an occasional leakage of stool while passing gas to a complete loss of bowel control.
What are the different types of fecal incontinence?
Fecal incontinence can occur temporarily during bouts of diarrhea, but for some people, it is a chronic, recurring condition. Common forms include:
- Urge, which occurs when you are unable to stop the urge to defecate. This feeling can come on so suddenly that it makes it difficult to reach the toilet in time.
- Passive incontinence, which occurs in people who are unaware of the need to pass stool.
What are the causes?
Fecal incontinence can be caused by a number of issues. For many people, there are often multiple causes. They may include:
- Muscle damage to the end of the rectum (anal sphincter)
- Nerve damage to the nerves that sense stool in the rectum, or those that control the anal sphincter (i.e., back or spine surgery, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, etc.)
- Hemorrhoids (veins that swell in the rectum and keep the anus from closing completely)
- Rectal prolapse (when the rectum drops down into the anus)
- Rectocele (for women, when the rectum protrudes through the vagina)
- Surgeries that cause muscle and nerve damage
- A loss of storage capacity in the rectum, which occurs when the rectal walls stiffen and cannot stretch
How is fecal incontinence treated?
Treatments for fecal incontinence may include:
- Advanced pelvic surgery with InterStim
- Pelvic floor physical therapy
- Testing with anal manometry (AM)
A complete exam and detailed evaluation are needed to determine which treatments are best for you. To get the proper diagnosis and treatment, schedule an appointment at Central Texas Urogynecology & Continence Center today.
Request an appointment in Austin, Texas
You can request an appointment at our practice in Austin by filling out the form on our site. You can also reach us by phone at 512-716-0861. At Central Texas Urogynecology & Continence Center, our goal is to give you the care that you deserve. If surgery is necessary, Dr. Antonini is an experienced surgeon with extremely successful outcomes. We look forward to helping you feel like yourself again.