Healthy Living: Fecal incontinence
You have heard of urinary incontinence, but what about fecal incontinence? YNN's Marcie Fraser tells us about a new procedure that helps patients who have trouble controlling their bowels.
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It is something that people don't often talk about: loose stools and accidents. It is called fecal incontinence and it often effects women who have had an injury during child birth. It effects between two to twenty percent of the population.
"It could be due to trauma, post-surgical, radiation, neurologic," explained Dr. Elsa Goldstein, Colon and Rectal Surgeon.
Ellen Moskal has been dealing with fecal incontinence for eight years. It has caused her depression.
"To worry you are going to have a bout of diarrhea and you are in the middle of a restaurant, and you have to go, and you know you aren't going to make it on time," said Moskal.
Patients who have trouble controlling bowels are first instructed to change their diets. "High fiber foods and good fiber supplements," suggested Dr. Goldstein.
Some patients get biofeedback, others get surgery.
"Some people undergo sphincter repair if there is a specific sphincter injury due to child birth or surgery, and if that didn't work, that would generally be the end of the line, except for a colostomy," said Dr. Goldstein.
Moskal was always told she needed a colostomy bag, but thanks to Dr. Goldstein, she was given a brand new option, Interstim. It is a device that is temporarily placed under the skin in the upper buttocks, and after a two week trial period, if they patients gain control of their bowels by at lease 50 percent, it can be placed permanently.
"Placing a wire into the lower back, and goes into an area where there are sacral nerves, and that wire is connected to an external neurostimulator," Dr. Goldstein explained.
The stimulator is painless.
Dr. Goldstein said, "It seems to effect both the sensory component and motor component, so patients are able to sense when they have to go to the bathroom, and can control it if they have the urge."
With the use of this remote device, they can increase the stimulation with a click of a button. Of those patients who use this device, "forty percent of patients have complete continence," said Dr. Goldstein.