General Surgeon & Colorectal Surgeons in Chandler, AZ, San Tan Valley, AZ, Mesa, AZ & Gilbert AZ
Even if you don’t have fecal incontinence, or uncontrollable stool leakage, you can easily imagine how this medical condition would lead to social isolation, loss of self-confidence, and depression. But you’re not alone. Fecal incontinence is estimated to affect 7-15% of adults, and you receive compassionate care and comprehensive treatment from Aalok Sahai, MD, at Sonoran Surgical. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Chandler, or San Tan Valley, Arizona, or book an appointment online.
Fecal Incontinence Q & A
What is fecal incontinence?
You have fecal incontinence when you accidentally pass solid or liquid stool. This type of incontinence also occurs if you can’t hold in bowel movements until you can get to a toilet. Some patients with fecal incontinence may pass stool in their underwear without being aware it happened.
What causes fecal incontinence?
The sphincter, a circular muscle around your anus, works together with nerves to control your bowel movements. Nerves sense when the rectum is full, then send the message to the brain, and it transmits the urge to go to the bathroom. Meanwhile, you should be able to hold stool in the rectum until you get to the bathroom.
You can develop fecal incontinence due to:
- External hemorrhoids
- Nerve damage
- Muscle damage or weakness
- Rectal prolapse or rectocele
Rectal prolapse occurs when weak pelvic floor muscles allow the rectum to drop down into the anus. A rectocele is a condition in which the rectum protrudes through the vagina.
How is rectal incontinence treated?
Dr. Sahai always develops individualized treatments based on the underlying cause of your incontinence, which means the first step is to pinpoint the cause. After performing a digital rectal exam, Dr. Sahai may perform diagnostic imaging and one or more tests to measure muscle and nerve function. He may also perform a colonoscopy to examine the inside of your rectum.
Your treatment may include one or more of the following options:
- Dietary changes
- Nerve stimulation
- Bowel training
- Exercises to strengthen muscles
- Solesta® injections to narrow the anal canal
- Interstim™ neurostimulation to regulate nerve signals
When your fecal incontinence persists despite nonsurgical treatment, Dr. Sahai may recommend minimally invasive surgery such as:
- Sphincteroplasty, or surgery to repair a sphincter damaged during childbirth
- Dynamic graciloplasty, to strengthen the sphincter using a muscle from your leg
- Artificial anal sphincter, which uses an inflatable cuff to replace a damaged sphincter
- Surgical correction of a rectal prolapse, rectocele, or hemorrhoids
- Colostomy or bowel diversion, to reroute stool through an opening in the abdomen
When you develop rectal incontinence, you can count on receiving comprehensive treatment at Sonoran Surgical. Call or schedule an appointment online today.