Treatments for Bowel Control & Incontinence

Changes in your bowels can be physically uncomfortable, embarrassing and even disruptive to your lifestyle. If you’re experiencing bowel leakage, known by the clinical term as bowel incontinence, you may feel like you’re losing control of your own body.

But there are ways to combat your symptoms so that you can get back to feeling more like yourself again.

Diet

Bowel incontinence can be brought on by several factors including diarrhea and chronic constipation.  Increasing your intake of fiber rich foods can add bulk to a watery stool and move things along (so to speak) so you’re no longer constipated. 

Foods high in fiber include fruit, vegetables, whole wheat pasta and bread, brown rice, nuts, and beans. Adding more fluid to your diet can greatly help with constipation, too. A simple change such as replacing other beverages with water can make a difference. It may also help to avoid fluids that trigger diarrhea such as milk, caffeinated drinks, or alcohol.

Exercise

We all know that exercise is great for our overall health. But did you know that low impact activity like walking a few times a week in your neighborhood or at the mall can alleviate your stool from building up? When things move along as they should there’s no liquid back up around the more solid stool so there’s no seepage. Another good reason to put on those sneakers and get going!

You might be surprised to learn that there are specific exercises that you can learn from a specially trained therapist that can strengthen your anal and pelvic floor muscles, which in turn alleviates bowel leakage. When weakened or damaged, these muscles can’t do their job well which causes the symptoms you’re experiencing.

Medical Procedures

If your symptoms are not be relieved by diet or exercise, there are other options. Our specially trained doctors can discuss several procedures that may help you return to better health.

InterStim Therapy is the use of an implantable device that gently stimulates the nerves that influence the behavior of your pelvic floor muscles so that you can have more control over your bowels.

Sometimes incontinence is caused by damage and weakening of tissue that would normally help control your bowel movements. Non-absorbable bulking agent injections can bulk up the tissue around your bowel area. The bulkier tissues make the opening more narrow so the muscles around your bowels are able to close better.

In some cases, surgery is the best choice to resolve a problem. If you are experiencing bowel leakage as a result of your bowel muscles being separated during childbirth or from an injury, sphincteroplasty may be the solution for you. Sphincteroplasty is the most common surgical treatment available and it involves reconnecting the separated ends so that you can have bowel control once again.

Another surgical option that your doctor may consider is bowel diversion surgery or colostomy. Your doctor would make a small opening in your abdomen so your stool would collect in a pouch. Although this procedure doesn’t restore continence, it may allow you to get back to the activities you love.

Our doctors will help you find the right treatment and are specially trained in the latest procedures so that you can live your life to the fullest again.

 

  • St. Joseph's Hospital Campus: 11705 Mercy Blvd., Savannah, GA 31419, (p) 912-819-4100
  • Candler Hospital Campus: 5353 Reynolds St., Savannah, GA 31405, (p) 912-819-6000
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St.Joseph's Hospital Campus: 912-819-4100

Candler Hospital Campus: 912-819-6000