Nearly 18 million adults in the United States have fecal incontinence. Many suffer and many keep quiet out of embarrassment, but fecal incontinence is a symptom that should be addressed. Being unable to control your bowels has many possible underlying causes, including muscle damage, constipation and hemorrhoids. Many of these causes can be treated.
Constipation, when a person has less than three bowel movements a week, can result in hard stools that get stuck in the rectum. More liquid waste builds behind it and may leak past the hardened stool.
If constipation is the cause of fecal incontinence, a change in diet can help. Drink water, slowly add foods with high fiber content into the diet, and eat a well-rounded breakfast with tea or coffee. Some people may find that eliminating caffeine works.
Hemorrhoids, swollen veins in the anus that can also cause pain and itching, may be in an area that keeps the sphincter muscle from closing completely, and stool or mucous may leak from the opening.
If hemorrhoids are the cause of fecal incontinence, there are a number of treatments your doctor can recommend, including the simple outpatient procedure hemorrhoid banding, which cuts off the blood supply to the hemorrhoid and causes it to wither.
According to the National Association for Incontinence, most bowel problems are relatively minor, but it is important to pay attention to any change in normal bowel habits. The constant urge to go, long-term diarrhea, constipation or blood in the stool can indicate colorectal cancer, and you should talk to your doctor about the problem immediately.
Among all cancers, colon cancer is the third-deadliest in the United States. However, with regular screening it can be detected early, and when found it is 90 percent curable. To find a screening center near you, click here.posted on December 31, 1969 in news