Your body’s systems, muscles, and nerves all work together in order to digest your food. The final phase of digestion, bowel movements, sends stool through your rectum and out of your anus. Bowel controls can typically—and should be able to—be controlled to an extent. This means that you can have a bowel movement when you have some warning signals. However, patients with fecal incontinence are not able to control these movements and often have no warning signals.
While it's possible for fecal incontinence to be a temporary, like if you are sick with a stomach problem, it is typically a chronic condition, which means that it recurs over a lengthy period of time. This condition can display itself in a variety of ways. For instance, the urge to have a bowel movement could be sudden, which means that the affected individual might be unable to get to the toilet on time.
It's also possible that the person could be unaware of even needing to have a bowel movement, which is referred to as passive incontinence. Other associated bowel issues brought about by fecal incontinence include bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
There are a variety of non-surgical and surgical procedures that can be used for the treatment of fecal incontinence, which include muscle repair, nerve stimulation, injections of bulking agents, and a surgical colostomy. A surgical colostomy is utilized in only the most severe of cases.
When this treatment takes place, a portion of the large intestine is taken through the abdominal wall in order to properly drain.
Your surgeon will be able to inform you about which of these treatment options is right for you. Seeking treatment for fecal incontinence is a way that many patients find they can have their confidence back.