What is Faecal Incontinence?
Faecal incontinence is the failure to control bowel motions, resulting in the involuntary leakage of stool (faeces or poo) from your bottom (rectum and anus). The capability to hold onto stool and sustain continence requires normal function from the nervous system, rectum and the anus.
Incontinence can be characterised by just passing a small piece of stool whilst passing wind or people can suffer from losing a complete bowel motion unknowingly (passive faecal incontinence).
Faecal Incontinence Symptons
Normally faecal incontinence is a symptom of a primary medical condition which may include nerve or muscle damage. It can affect people of all ages although it usually tends to occur in the elderly and women (may be due to complicated pregnancies in women).
Other causes may consist of:
- Constipation (may cause the anus to become weak)
- Rectum become impacted by stool
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Muscle damage to the anal sphincter muscles (internal and external)
- Previous surgeries such as rectal/ anal, prostate and gynaecological surgery
- Abuse of laxative medications
Faecal Incontinence Treatmen
Majority of people, with the right diagnosis and treatment, can maintain a normal bowel function throughout their entire life.
Treatments may include:
- Lifestyle and dietary advice and changes
- Bowel retraining (biofeedback therapy) which may help promote better muscle tone
- Medication to control looser stools which could potentially eliminate incontinence (Loperamide/ Imodium)
- Surgical treatment to rectify clearly known cause
By the time you come to see us at The Functional Gut Clinic you may well have had these symptoms for some time and tried many different treatments. It is our aim to use our advanced testing techniques to find out exactly what is and isn’t working properly with your bowel and diet. We can then use this information to help personalise your treatment and improve your symptoms.