If you’re caring for someone with bowel incontinence, or experiencing it yourself, you’re not alone. Approximately 18 million U.S. adults, about one in 12, experience fecal incontinence, according to a study published in “Gastroenterology” in 2009.
Engage in a bowel retraining program. Your doctor may suggest you retrain your body to defecate at a certain time every day or perform exercises to strengthen your anal sphincter.
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Ask your doctor about medications. She may prescribe antidiarrheal drugs, anticholinergic medications, opium derivatives, laxatives or stool softeners. She may also suggest the use of enemas to loosen fecal impaction.
Consider surgical interventions. In severe cases of bowel incontinence, your doctor may suggest surgery to repair or replace your sphincter, add a colostomy bag, or recommend surgery to correct underlying conditions such as hemorrhoids.
Dianna Malkowski is a Board Certified Physician Assistant and Mayo Clinic trained nutritionist specializing in diabetes, cancer, wound healing, therapeutic diets and nutrition support. She serves on the board of professional advisors for The CareGiver Partnership and enjoys working with patients and caregivers alike. Ask Dianna a question, or for one-on-one help with products, call 1-800-985-1353 M-F 9-4 CST.
Source: National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Fecal Incontinence