What can I do if I have bowel incontinence?

Start by discussing this problem with your primary care doctor or your OB/GYN. Your doctor may recommend some preliminary stool testing and may further refer you to a specialist based upon your individual needs. Depending upon your individual need you may need to be referred to Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeons also know as Urogynecologist, Gastroenterologist or Colorectal Surgeons. The most important thing to remember is that no matter how bad the problem seems to you, there is very likely to be a treatment option that may either improve or cure your condition completely.

How is bowel incontinence treated?

Treatment options range from conservative therapies to medical or surgical treatments. Everybody's needs are different; however the following are a few treatment options that your doctor may discuss with you:

  • Diet modifications
  • Medications: These include fiber or anti-diarrhea medications.
  • Biofeedback: This requires the use of a device that helps retrain your bowels to function properly.
  • Physical therapy: This is geared towards strengthening the muscles that's around the anal canal.
  • Anal bulking agents: Some patients may benefit injection of soft biological materials that act like a cushion around the anal canal and improve the seal of the anal opening.
  • Sacral Neuromodulation: Recently, sacral neuromodulation has demonstrated a significant amount of success in treatment of bowel incontinence. This is a small outpatient procedure that improves the regulation of bowel function. Before the actual procedure is performed most patients have the benefit of going through a trial phase
  • Surgeries: While several surgeries have been described they have variable success rates and carry a high risk of complication.