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Fecal Incontinence


Urogynecologists located in Wellesley, MA & Hudson, MA

The inability to control your bowels can be embarrassing, but Boston Urogyn in Wellesley, Massachusetts has solutions: Neeraj Kohli, MD, MBA is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in the field of urogynecology and reconstructive pelvic surgery. If you’re experiencing fecal incontinence, call Boston Urogyn or schedule an appointment online to learn more about their advanced technologies for the treatment of prolapse, incontinence, and pelvic pain.

Fecal Incontinence Q & A

What is fecal incontinence?

Fecal incontinence, or bowel incontinence, occurs when you can't control your bowels and small amounts of feces involuntary pass. For most adults, this is an occasional problem. For others, however, it’s a chronic condition.

The most troublesome type of incontinence is urge incontinence, which is when you have an urgent need to defecate but can’t make it to the bathroom in time. You might even pass stools when you don’t realize you have to go.

Fecal incontinence can be a debilitating disorder that leads to social isolation.

What causes fecal incontinence?

Fecal incontinence isn’t a disease; it’s a symptom of another condition. When you have fecal incontinence, it’s because something has disrupted the “conversation” between your nerves, anus, and rectum.

Normal bowel movements are the result of a complicated communication system between your nerves and the muscles of the anus and rectum. If it’s not an appropriate time to go to the bathroom, your body can control the urge.

Diarrhea and constipation can cause fecal incontinence: Either the loose stools are difficult for the rectum to retain or constipation has weakened the rectum's muscles and nerves.

Other factors that may cause fecal incontinence include:

  • Reduced rectal storage capacity that causes scarring or rectal stiffening
  • Muscle damage caused by childbirth
  • Anal or rectal surgeries that include muscle or nerve damage
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Rectocele

Women are more likely than men to develop fecal incontinence, and this risk increases with age. Physical disabilities, chronic health conditions that damage nerves, and dementia can also lead to fecal incontinence.

How is fecal incontinence treated?

Based on the cause of your fecal incontinence, Dr. Kohli may recommend the following treatments:

  • Axonics Therapy - Click here to learn more!
  • Biofeedback to retrain the anal sphincters
  • InterStim™to correct the communication between the brain and sacral nerves
  • Medications to regulate bowel movements and improve stool consistency
  • Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor

Before treating your condition, however, Dr. Kohli performs a full physical exam and takes your medical history, including past surgical procedures or pregnancies. He also conducts a pelvic exam and possibly a rectal examination. These steps help him determine the most effective treatment for your fecal incontinence.

To learn more about fecal incontinence treatments, call Boston Urogyn or schedule an appointment online.