Treatment Of Fecal Incontinence

Treatment of fecal incontinence depends on the cause and the severity of the problem. Treatment options fall into four main categories:
  • Dietary changes
  • Medications
  • Bowel training
  • Surgery
Sometimes more than one treatment may be necessary to successfuly address the issue. Mild problems could be treated with dietary managment, simple home exercises, and some medications.

It is important to know that effective treatments for fecal incontinence are available.

Dietary changes

Many foods contribute to the problem of fecal incontinence, for example foods and drinks containing caffeine (coffe, tea, chocolate) that relaxes the anal sphincter muscle. Preventing diarrhea and constipation also usually helps in controlling incontinence.

What you eat can help you manage your condition.

Food that typically cause diarrhea and contribute to the problem of fecal incontinence include:
  • caffeine
  • smoked meat, ham
  • alcohol
  • some fruits (apples, peaches, pears)
  • sweeteners
  • fatty foods
It is advised to keep a food diary. Take note of what you eat and how does your eating habits affect your incontinent episodes. Maybe a pattern between certain foods and incontinence will appear.

To make stool formed and easier to control eat more fiber (fruits, vegetables, grain...). Try to eat and drink at different times, and drink plenty of fluids. The consistency of stool is affected by food and the speed at which it passes through the digestive system.


Medications

Sometimes medications are recommended to treat fecal incontinence.
  • Antidiarrheal medications
    If the cause of incontinence is diarrhea, then antidiarrheal medications (loperamide, diphenoxylate) can help.
  • Laxlatives and stool softeners
    If constipation is the cause of your incontinence, you may be advised to use laxatives or stool softeners.
  • Other medications
    Other medications include medications that reduce the water content in the stools, decrease the spontaneous motion of your bowel or absorb fluids and add bulk to the stools.
Consult with your doctor before you take any over-the-counter incontinence medicines.


Bowel Training

Bowel training refers to behavioral programs designed to help people with bowel disorders restore muscle strenght and reestablish control of bowel movements.

Bowel training means strengthening muscles around anal canal or training bowel to empty at a specific time of day.

You can use biofeeback and Kegel exercises to work on muscles in the pelvic floor. Anorectal biofeedback involves inserting a small pressure-sensitive probe into your anus and can improve strenght, sensation and control of your rectal muscles.


Surgery

For some people surgery may present good option. Several different surgical procedures can be done, depending on the cause of incontinence.
  • Sphincteroplasty
    Sphincteroplasty is a procedure used to repair defects of anal sphincter. It is a long-term solution and has the fewest complications.
  • Artificial bowel sphincter
    If anal sphincter is damaged, an artificial sphincter can be used to replace it. The device is implanted around the anal canal. When inflated, it keeps the anal sphincter shut tight. External pump to deflate the device allows stool to be released.
  • Colostomy
    Colostomy is a procedure where an opening is made from the colon (or large intestine) to the outside of the abdomen. The end of the shortened colon is brought to the surface of the abdomen to form the stoma, where the faeces will pass from the body. There is no sphincter in the stoma and there is no control over bowel movements. The person will need to continuously wear an ostomy appliance (a special bag) to contain the stool.
  • Sphincter repair/gracilis muscle transplant
    Sphincter may be repaired by a technique of transferring a muscle from another part of the body and wrapping it around the anal canal to act like a sphincter. Sphincter repair is usually preformed on people who have an incompetent rectal sphincter as a result of injury or aging.
  • Operations to treat rectal prolapse, rectocele or hemorrhoids