What Fecal Incontinence Can Reveal About Your Health

Fecal incontinence can be a difficult condition to deal with. For one, it’s embarrassing, which causes many people to avoid discussing it with their doctor or loved ones. For another, it’s often treated as a problem that will or might go away with time. But this isn’t always the case. 

If you’re struggling with fecal incontinence, the condition can be a sign that there are other issues underlying it. The fact that you’re struggling to get to the bathroom before a bowel movement could be an early indication that something may be wrong. 

Boca Care Surgical Associates offers a number of treatments, including minimally invasive surgery, for fecal incontinence. Avraham Belizon, MD, FACS, FASCRS, takes this condition seriously and may suggest other tests to reveal any other issues that could be co-occurring. 

What fecal incontinence is and how to get help

Fecal incontinence is the condition where you are unable to control your bowel movements. It’s also sometimes called bowel incontinence and shouldn’t be confused with urinary incontinence, which deals with the uncontrolled passing of urine. This condition is very different and may signal different issues.

Around one in ten people deals with fecal incontinence, so even though it seems embarrassing and rare, it’s actually very common. Recognizing the condition and getting help is much better for your life in the long run — not only because you’ll be able to manage it better, but also so that you can find out what might be causing it. 

A good rule of thumb is to discuss fecal incontinence with your provider. To begin with, a number of lifestyle changes and minor options can be implemented, like adding more fiber to your diet, eliminating foods that irritate the bowels, and doing pelvic floor exercises. But your provider will likely also want to run some tests. 

What fecal incontinence says about your well-being

Fecal incontinence can be a result of a poor diet or another issue. But it can also reveal that something else is going on. Here are some of the problems this condition may be signaling. 

Damage to the anal sphincter

Damaged, weak, or otherwise compromised muscles in the sphincter can lead to leakage and other issues associated with fecal incontinence. You might not know how these muscles were damaged, but it can often happen during childbirth, especially if you had an episiotomy. 

In addition, nerve damage can play a part in this condition. Childbirth commonly causes this as well. Surgery can also cause this type of damage. 

Medical conditions 

A number of medical conditions are known to cause fecal incontinence. One of the most common is unmanaged diabetes. Others may include tumors or dementia. 

If you have other symptoms associated with one of these conditions, your doctor may want to order additional tests to rule them out.

Stress and emotional upheaval 

Having long-term constipation is a sign of severe emotional stress. But for many who suffer from it, the body will eventually experience damage, causing the bowels to have trouble holding. 

You may want to ask yourself if your stressors have become so extreme that you’re beginning to feel their presence in your body. If so, therapy or another mental health treatment might help.

Your options for treating fecal incontinence 

As previously stated, fecal incontinence can often be treated with lifestyle changes. Medicine might also be helpful in this case. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, surgery could be the answer. However, it’s important to also consider, diagnose, and treat any other conditions that could be causing or intensifying this problem. 

You don’t have to live with fecal incontinence 

There are many treatments available to help you manage this condition as well as treatments for the issues that may be causing it. 

To learn more about our options and to discuss your individualized treatment plan, call our office in Boca Raton, Florida, today at 561-395-2626, or make an appointment online

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