Fecal incontinence can be an embarrassing problem. Many people struggle with this issue alone because they're too ashamed to reach out for help. However, your doctor can be a helpful ally on your journey toward better bowel health. Your doctor can help you come up with strategies to manage your bowel problems. Here are four fecal incontinence solutions that you can try:
1. Lifestyle Changes
Many people find that their fecal incontinence is caused or exacerbated by certain foods. For example, people with lactose intolerance may find that dairy products worsen their bowel symptoms. Spicy foods and foods that are high in saturated fat are also common culprits. If you're not sure which foods worsen your fecal incontinence, your doctor may suggest keeping a daily log of the foods you eat to track their effects on your digestive system.
Diet changes aren't the only lifestyle modifications that can help. Incorporating pelvic floor exercises into your daily life can also improve fecal incontinence over time. By intentionally contracting and relaxing the muscles that control your anal sphincter, you can strengthen them and reduce instances of unintentional voiding.
Initially, your doctor may suggest that you try over-the-counter medications to remedy occasional bowel problems. Medications, such as loperamide, can relieve the symptoms of an upset stomach and treat diarrhea. If your fecal incontinence issues are severe or chronic, your doctor may prescribe medication to help. People who suffer from bowel diseases, such as Crohn's disease, may require stronger medications to calm their bowels. Your doctor can discuss with you the pros and cons of taking these medications.
3. Medical Devices
When fecal incontinence is caused by mechanical issues in the body, sometimes medical devices can help. People who experience incontinence due to a lack of functioning nerve impulses in their rectums can benefit from sacral nerve stimulation, which is a type of neurofeedback. People who undergo this therapy will have an electronic device implanted in their sacral nerves. Electric stimulation from this device can stimulate the bowel to function regularly by correcting improper nerve signals.
When conservative therapies have not provided enough relief, doctors may suggest surgery to relieve bowel incontinence. Surgical procedures can repair injuries to the rectum and bowels that disrupt normal bowel function. When the bowels cannot be adequately repaired, doctors may instead perform a colostomy, which allows fecal matter to drain into a colostomy bag, which can be changed on a regular schedule.
Contact a local doctor to learn more about fecal incontinence.