Chances are if you’ve had a problem with fecal incontinence, you’ve also had trouble admitting it or getting help. But you’re not alone. Fecal or bowel incontinence, the condition where you lose control and leak stool unexpectedly, is a lot more common than you think. It affects 1 in 12 American adults, or 18 million people, and it can happen for many reasons.
If you’re dealing with fecal incontinence, Dr. Neeraj Kohli at Boston Urogyn has the experience and compassion to help you deal with this sensitive condition.
Here are some conditions that might be causing or complicating your problems with fecal incontinence:
Dealing with regular bouts of constipation, ironically, can lead to problems of fecal leakage. If hard stool gets stuck in the rectum, it can weaken the sphincter muscle. This makes it easier for accidents and may cause you to lose control of bowel movements.
There are many causes of diarrhea, such as bacteria, lactose intolerance, digestive disorders, and viruses. But all of them have the same result: a sudden and powerful urge to empty your bowels that unfortunately can happen before you reach the bathroom.
External or internal hemorrhoids can keep the sphincter from closing completely. Without the sphincter working properly, the possibility of involuntary fecal leakage increases.
Muscle and nerve damage in the pelvic area can cause fecal incontinence. Chronic constipation, childbirth trauma, stroke, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis all can contribute to damage to muscles and nerves and weaken the sphincter.
The pelvic floor muscles help you control your bladder and bowels, and anything that weakens or damages them can cause fecal leakage. Childbirth is a more common cause but damage caused by straining on the toilet, heavy lifting, or high-impact exercise can all do damage and lead to fecal incontinence.
If fecal incontinence is affecting your quality of life, Dr. Kohli may suggest treatments that include the following:
Fecal incontinence can happen to anyone, and it’s not your fault. Don’t be afraid to seek help. If you need help, contact Dr. Kohli at our Wellesley, Massachusetts, office, or request your appointment online.