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Fecal Incontinence Treatments

A variety of fecal incontinence treatments can address problems related to involuntarily passing stool. These treatments are typically recommended based on the cause of a person’s incontinence, as well as factors such as their general health. In many instances, multiple treatment methods are required to solve problems caused by the condition.

When recommending treatments for fecal incontinence, physicians may first attempt conservative measures to see if they provide sufficient relief. Lifestyle changes such as avoiding alcohol and caffeine, and increasing the bulk of stool by adding more fiber to one’s diet can treat incontinence for some people. Performing Kegel exercises can improve muscle strength in the bowel and taking medication can help control diarrhea, making it easier to prevent involuntary discharges.

In serious cases of fecal incontinence where the cause is clearly identified, one or more surgical treatments may be recommended, such as:

  • Sphincteroplasty – This procedure is usually performed to address a defect or scar in sphincter muscle. By stitching these muscles together more tightly, a surgeon can give the patient greater control of their bowels.
  • Sacral nerve stimulation – A surgeon will implant a device capable of stimulating the pelvic nerves, providing help for incontinence caused by nerve damage.
  • Artificial bowel sphincter placement – This procedure involves implanting a silicone ring around the anal canal, which the patient can inflate and deflate as needed to release stool.
  • Colostomy – For the most severe cases of incontinence, the end of the colon can be diverted through the abdominal wall, where a bag attached to the abdomen outside of the body will collect the stool.

Patients experiencing problems with fecal incontinence can receive the highly personalized care at Tampa General Hospital’s Endoscopy Center. Named one of America’s Best Hospitals in Gastroenterology & GI Surgery by U.S. News & World Report in 2017-18, Tampa General provides advanced treatments with skilled specialists utilizing state-of-the-art technology.

To find a physician who can recommend fecal incontinence treatments, use Tampa General Hospital’s Physician Finder  or call 1-800-833-3627.