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Treatments for Fecal incontinence

Treatment List for Fecal incontinence

The list of treatments mentioned in various sources for Fecal incontinence includes the following list. Always seek professional medical advice about any treatment or change in treatment plans.

Fecal incontinence: Is the Diagnosis Correct?

The first step in getting correct treatment is to get a correct diagnosis. Differential diagnosis list for Fecal incontinence may include:

Hidden causes of Fecal incontinence may be incorrectly diagnosed:

  • Diarrhea - a common cause of temporary fecal incontinence
  • Chronic constipation - the most common cause of fecal incontinence in children
  • Fecal impaction
  • Pregnancy and childbirth related conditions:
    • Pelvic floor dysfunction
    • Childbirth - can cause spincter muscle or nerve damage or pelvic floor dysfunction; sometimes childbirth-caused fecal incontinence does not occur immediately but later in the 40's.
  • more causes...»

Fecal incontinence: Marketplace Products, Discounts & Offers

Products, offers and promotion categories available for Fecal incontinence:

Fecal incontinence: Research Doctors & Specialists

Research all specialists including ratings, affiliations, and sanctions.

Latest treatments for Fecal incontinence:

The following are some of the latest treatments for Fecal incontinence:

Hospital statistics for Fecal incontinence:

These medical statistics relate to hospitals, hospitalization and Fecal incontinence:

  • 0.016% (2,051) of hospital consultant episodes were for faecal incontinence in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 96% of hospital consultant episodes for faecal incontinence required hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 29% of hospital consultant episodes for faecal incontinence were for men in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 71% of hospital consultant episodes for faecal incontinence were for women in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • 9% of hospital consultant episodes for faecal incontinence required emergency hospital admission in England 2002-03 (Hospital Episode Statistics, Department of Health, England, 2002-03)
  • more hospital information...»

Hospitals & Medical Clinics: Fecal incontinence

Research quality ratings and patient incidents/safety measures for hospitals and medical facilities in specialties related to Fecal incontinence:

Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »

Choosing the Best Treatment Hospital: More general information, not necessarily in relation to Fecal incontinence, on hospital and medical facility performance and surgical care quality:

Medical news summaries about treatments for Fecal incontinence:

The following medical news items are relevant to treatment of Fecal incontinence:

Discussion of treatments for Fecal incontinence:

Treatment depends on the cause and severity of fecal incontinence; it may include dietary changes, medication, bowel training, or surgery. More than one treatment may be necessary for successful control since continence is a complicated chain of events.

Dietary Changes

Food affects the consistency of stool and how quickly it passes through the digestive system. One way to help control fecal incontinence in some persons is to eat foods that add bulk to stool, making it less watery and easier to control. Also, avoid foods that contribute to the problem. They include foods and drinks containing caffeine, like coffee, tea, and chocolate, which relax the internal anal sphincter muscle. Another approach is to eat foods low in fiber to decrease the work of the anal sphincters. Fruit can act as a natural laxative and should be eaten sparingly.

You can adjust what and how you eat to help manage fecal incontinence.

  • Keep a food diary. List what you eat, how much you eat, and when you have an incontinent episode. After a few days, you may begin to see a pattern between certain foods and incontinence. After you identify foods that seem to cause problems, cut back on them and see whether incontinence improves. Foods that typically cause diarrhea, and so should probably be avoided, include

    • caffeine
    • cured or smoked meat like sausage, ham, or turkey
    • spicy foods
    • alcohol
    • dairy products like milk, cheese, and ice cream
    • fruits like apples, peaches, or pears
    • fatty and greasy foods
    • sweeteners, like sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, and fructose, which are found in diet drinks, sugarless gum and candy, chocolate, and fruit juices

  • Eat smaller meals more frequently. In some people, large meals cause bowel contractions that lead to diarrhea. You can still eat the same amount of food in a day, but space it out by eating several small meals.

  • Eat and drink at different times. Liquid helps move food through the digestive system. So if you want to slow things down, drink something half an hour before or after meals, but not with the meals.

  • Eat more fiber. Fiber makes stool soft, formed, and easier to control. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, and grains, like those listed below . You'll need to eat 20 to 30 grams of fiber a day, but add it to your diet slowly so your body can adjust. Too much fiber all at once can cause bloating, gas, or even diarrhea. Also, too much insoluble, or undigestible, fiber can contribute to diarrhea. So if you find that eating more fiber makes your diarrhea worse, try cutting back to two servings each of fruits and vegetables and removing skins and seeds from your food.

  • Eat foods that make stool bulkier. Foods that contain soluble, or digestible, fiber slow the emptying of the bowels. Examples are bananas, rice, tapioca, bread, potatoes, applesauce, cheese, smooth peanut butter, yogurt, pasta, and oatmeal.

  • Get plenty to drink. You need to drink eight 8-ounce glasses of liquid a day to help prevent dehydration and to keep stool soft and formed. Water is a good choice, but avoid drinks with caffeine, alcohol, milk, or carbonation if you find that they trigger diarrhea.

Over time, diarrhea can rob you of vitamins and minerals. Ask your doctor if you need a vitamin supplement.

What Foods Have Fiber?

Examples of foods that have fiber include
Breads, cereals, and beans fiber
1/2 cup of black-eyed peas, cooked 4 grams
1/2 cup of kidney beans, cooked 5.5 grams
1/2 cup of lima beans, cooked 4.5 grams
Whole-grain cereal, cold
  • 1/2 cup of All-Bran
  • 3/4 cup of Total
  • 3/4 cup of Post Bran Flakes
10 grams
3 grams
5 grams
1 packet of whole-grain cereal, hot (oatmeal, Wheatena) 3 grams
1 slice of whole-wheat or multigrain bread 3 grams
1 medium apple 4 grams
1 medium peach 2 grams
1/2 cup of raspberries 4 grams
1 medium tangerine 3 grams
1 cup of acorn squash, raw 2 grams
1 medium stalk of broccoli, raw 4 grams
5 brussels sprouts, raw 3 grams
1 cup of cabbage, raw 2 grams
1 medium carrot, raw 2 grams
1 cup of cauliflower, raw 2 grams
1 cup of spinach, cooked 2 grams
1 cup of zucchini, raw 2 grams

Source: USDA/ARS Nutrient Data Laboratory


If diarrhea is causing the incontinence, medication may help. Sometimes doctors recommend using bulk laxatives to help people develop a more regular bowel pattern. Or the doctor may prescribe antidiarrheal medicines such as loperamide or diphenoxylate to slow down the bowel and help control the problem.

Bowel Training

Bowel training helps some people relearn how to control their bowels. In some cases, it involves strengthening muscles; in others, it means training the bowels to empty at a specific time of day.

  • Use biofeedback. Biofeedback is a way to strengthen and coordinate the muscles and has helped some people. Special computer equipment measures muscle contractions as you do exercises--called Kegel exercises--to strengthen the rectum. These exercises work muscles in the pelvic floor, including those involved in controlling stool. Computer feedback about how the muscles are working shows whether you're doing the exercises correctly and whether the muscles are getting stronger. Whether biofeedback will work for you depends on the cause of your fecal incontinence, how severe the muscle damage is, and your ability to do the exercises.

  • Develop a regular pattern of bowel movements. Some people--particularly those whose fecal incontinence is caused by constipation--achieve bowel control by training themselves to have bowel movements at specific times during the day, such as after every meal. The key to this approach is persistence--it may take a while to develop a regular pattern. Try not to get frustrated or give up if it doesn't work right away.


Surgery may be an option for people whose fecal incontinence is caused by injury to the pelvic floor, anal canal, or anal sphincter. Various procedures can be done, from simple ones like repairing damaged areas, to complex ones like attaching an artificial anal sphincter or replacing anal muscle with muscle from the leg or forearm. People who have severe fecal incontinence that doesn't respond to other treatments may decide to have a colostomy, which involves removing a portion of the bowel. The remaining part is then either attached to the anus if it still works properly, or to a hole in the abdomen called a stoma, through which stool leaves the body and is collected in a pouch.

What To Do About Anal Discomfort

The skin around the anus is delicate and sensitive. Constipation and diarrhea or contact between skin and stool can cause pain or itching. Here's what you can do to relieve discomfort:

  • Wash the area with water, but not soap, after a bowel movement. Soap can dry out the skin, making discomfort worse. If possible, wash in the shower with lukewarm water or use a sitz bath. Or try a no-rinse skin cleanser. Try not to use toilet paper to clean up--rubbing with dry toilet paper will only irritate the skin more. Premoistened, alcohol-free towelettes are a better choice.

  • Let the area air dry after washing. If you don't have time, gently pat yourself dry with a lint-free cloth.

  • Use a moisture barrier cream, which is a protective cream to help prevent skin irritation from direct contact with stool. However, talk to your health care professional before you try anal ointments and creams because some have ingredients that can be irritating. Also, you should clean the area well first to avoid trapping bacteria that could cause further problems. Your health care professional can recommend an appropriate cream or ointment.

  • Try using nonmedicated talcum powder or corn starch to relieve anal discomfort.

  • Wear cotton underwear and loose clothes that "breathe." Tight clothes that block air can worsen anal problems. Change soiled underwear as soon as possible.

  • If you use pads or diapers, make sure they have an absorbent wicking layer on top. Products with a wicking layer protect the skin by pulling stool and moisture away from the skin and into the pad.

(Source: excerpt from Fecal Incontinence: NIDDK)

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