Fecal incontinence or the involuntary loss of stool is often embarrassing and extremely frustrating. The board-certified specialists at Fairfax Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC can help by accurately identifying and treating the underlying cause of fecal incontinence. Schedule an evaluation today by calling their office in Fairfax, Fair Oaks, Alexandria, Gainesville, Woodbridge, or Lansdowne, Virginia, or use their convenient online service to request an appointment.
Fecal incontinence is the involuntary loss of stool. It can occur without warning when you’re exercising or passing gas. You may notice the urge to have a bowel movement but can’t control the stool long enough to reach the bathroom. Sometimes you may not even be aware of the need for a bowel movement.
Stool leakage related to fecal incontinence can be relatively minor or result in a complete bowel movement. Unlike accidents that can occur with a bout of diarrheal illness, fecal incontinence can become a chronic and embarrassing problem.
Several factors can affect your ability to control bowel movements, including:
Persistent problems with diarrhea or constipation can cause muscles in the rectum and anus to weaken, eventually affecting your ability to hold stool until you reach the bathroom. You may, for instance, develop fecal incontinence due to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or Crohn’s, which commonly cause frequent diarrhea or constipation.
Muscle damage during a difficult vaginal birth or rectal surgery can affect your ability to control bowel movements.
Muscles that support the rectum, anus, and nearby pelvic structures naturally loosen and weaken with age. Rectal prolapse (when the rectum falls into the anus) or rectocele (when the rectum pushes into the vagina) are often caused by age-induced laxity in the pelvic floor muscles. Both conditions can cause fecal incontinence.
Nerves control sensation and muscle movement in the rectal area. Damage to these nerves can affect your ability to sense the urge to defecate or contract the muscles that retain stool. Nerve damage can happen during a vaginal birth or may result from certain medical conditions such as diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or stroke.
Your Fairfax Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC provider treats fecal incontinence by identifying and addressing the underlying cause.
For instance, medication may be effective in controlling infection or irritable bowel syndrome. Diarrhea and constipation often respond well to dietary changes. Injured or weakened muscles may require bowel training or minimally invasive surgery to repair the damage.
You don’t have to live with fecal incontinence. Schedule an evaluation at Fairfax Colon & Rectal Surgery, PC today by calling the nearest office or requesting an appointment online.