Fecal Incontinence Specialist

Center for Urogynecology and Female Pelvic Health

Urogynecologist & Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeon located in Venice, FL

Unexpected leakage of stool is not only uncomfortable, but it’s also embarrassing. Fecal incontinence can be treated, however, by expert urogynecologist John Devine, MD, at the Center for Urogynecology and Female Pelvic Health, located in Venice, Florida, He offers his experience in diagnosing the cause and offering medical and surgical therapies to ease your symptoms of fecal incontinence. Call the office or request an appointment if you suffer from an inability to control your bowels.

Fecal Incontinence Q&A

What is fecal incontinence?

When you can’t control your bowels and stool leaks from your rectum inadvertently, you have fecal incontinence. It may occur as a side effect of diarrhea or constipation or be chronic or recurrent. The leakage may be slight and occur when you pass gas or be a complete loss of bowel control.

Fecal incontinence can interfere with work, relationships, and social activities. It may prevent you from doing the activities you love.

What causes fecal incontinence?

Fecal incontinence may result from a number of issues. These include:

  • Muscle damage to the anal sphincter, the muscles around the end of your rectum
  • Damage to the nerves in the rectum that sense stool
  • Stiffness in the walls of the rectum that limit its storage capacity
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Surgery for hemorrhoids or veins in the rectum that causes nerve or muscle damage

Constipation and diarrhea can cause bouts of fecal incontinence. If either is chronic, it may indicate a problem that warrants medical attention.

Older adults and females tend to have more cases of fecal incontinence.

What is the treatment or fecal incontinence?

Dr. Devine does several diagnostic tests to pinpoint the cause of your fecal incontinence. The cause of your incontinence dictates the treatment.

Medications are sometimes an option and include antidiarrheal drugs, bulk laxatives, and injectable bulking agents. The doctors may also suggest dietary changes to help you ease constipation or diarrhea. Adding more fibrous foods and plenty of fluids can help with constipation.

If it’s determined that muscle damage is behind your incontinence, Dr. Devine may recommend an exercise program that helps restore strength to your anal sphincter. He may also suggest sacral nerve stimulation therapy, which is a reversible treatment that uses a small device to send mild electrical signals to the sacral nerve. The sacral nerve activates or inhibits muscles and smaller nerves that contribute to urinary and bowel control.

In some cases, surgery is required to correct a problem such as rectal prolapse, severe hemorrhoids, or damage to the anal sphincter. Women may experience such damage during childbirth. In some cases, surgery involves muscle repair of the area around the rectum or a full sphincter replacement.

If you have issues with fecal incontinence that interfere with your daily life and social activities, call the Center for Urogynecology and Female Pelvic Health, or request an appointment.