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Bowel Incontinence

What is bowel incontinence?

women hiking and smiling without fear bowel incontinence

Bowel incontinence, also known as fecal incontinence, can make routine outings fraught with anxiety. Often patients will feel the urge to have a bowel movement but will not have time to make it to a restroom. This means you’re always looking for the nearest restroom, bringing a change of clothes everywhere you go and fear of engaging in social activities.

This problem can come from a variety of causes, including damage to the anal sphincter. It can be associated with diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s and other conditions. A traumatic childbirth can cause this problem for women. And children who were born with birth defects related to the spinal cord, anus, or rectum are more likely to have bowel incontinence.

How common are bowel control problems?

While it can feel embarrassing, bowel incontinence is actually very common. According to some studies, about 1 in 3 people are affected by some form of bowel incontinence. It typically occurs in patients who are older than 65 who have additional underlying health conditions. However, bowel incontinence can affect people of any age. Since it is a familiar occurrence we often see, you can rest assured that there are many ways we can help address it.

How is bowel incontinence treated?

Many different treatments are possible, including lifestyle changes, specialized physical therapy, exercises, medications, and surgery. At Central Illinois Endoscopy Center, we are with you every step of the way. We will discuss necessary diet changes, helpful medicines, and can even coach you on bowel training and pelvic floor muscle exercises.