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Fecal Incontinence

If you can’t control your bowel movements, that’s a tell-tale sign of fecal incontinence. Millions of people suffer from fecal incontinence. Many are like you, searching for the best care to be free of this often embarrassing condition. The doctors at East Valley Urology Center offer InterStim® therapy to relieve the symptoms of fecal incontinence without major surgery. To find out if this innovative treatment is right for you, call or schedule a consultation online today.

InterStim Fecal Incontinence Q & A

What is fecal incontinence?

Fecal incontinence is the loss of the ability to control your bowel movements. Feces leaks out by accident, and you can also pass mucus or liquid stools. Fecal incontinence is more common in older adults and women.

The severity of fecal incontinence varies. You might occasionally leak a small amount of stool when passing gas, or you might have no control whatsoever over your bowel movements. While fecal incontinence can provoke embarrassment, you should know millions of people suffer from this condition, and that treatment is available.

What causes fecal incontinence?

Fecal incontinence typically shows up when your bowel habits change, such as with diarrhea or constipation. Conditions affecting your ability to hold in stool can also trigger fecal incontinence.

Certain health problems can damage the nerves or weaken the sphincter muscles that help control your bowels. Fecal incontinence can be brought on by:



Loss of storage capacity in the rectum

Muscle damage

Nerve damage

Rectal prolapse


Prior surgery (e.g., anal sphincter repair, sphincterotomy, hemorrhoid surgery)

Fecal incontinence is more common with certain neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis, stroke, and Type 2 diabetes.

What are the signs of fecal incontinence?

Symptoms of fecal incontinence vary depending on the seriousness of your condition.

Common signs and symptoms include:

Being unable to hold back gas

Leaking stool during routine activities or while being active

Being unable to reach the toilet in time

You might also experience constipation, diarrhea, or feelings of discomfort in your abdomen.

What Treatments Are Available for Fecal Incontinence?

The doctors at East Valley Urology Center offer a variety of surgical and non-surgical treatments to treat fecal incontinence. Non-surgical treatments may include dietary changes to avoid certain foods, like dairy products, which may trigger loose bowel movements, medications to firm the stool and prevent diarrhea, pelvic muscle rehabilitation including Kegel exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor and anal sphincter muscles.  Sometimes these can improve bowel control for some patients.

Biofeedback is often helpful when pelvic floor exercises fail. Biofeedback helps to retrain the anal muscles to reinforce the correct use of these muscles using computer images. A small tampon-like sensor placed into the vagina or rectum links the patient to a computer and screen. Contracting and relaxing the pelvic floor muscles produces signals on the screen, allowing the healthcare provider to identify proper or improper technique.

How is fecal incontinence treated?

While the first line of treatment is generally dietary changes and medications, these treatment options cannot help everyone. At East Valley Urology Center, we offer a minimally invasive treatment called InterStim® therapy.

InterStim therapy relies on neurostimulation to correct a communication breakdown between your brain and the nerves regulating bowel functions. The treatment involves a thin, flexible wire that is implanted near your tailbone. The wire sends mild electrical pulses to your nerves to improve bowel control. You typically go through a trial period with the device before it’s implanted under your skin for a full course of therapy.

Research shows that more than 80% of patients who have undergone this innovative therapy have seen their episodes of incontinence per week drop by more than half.

If you’ve tried treating fecal incontinence without success, it’s time to rely on your expert doctors at East Valley Urology Center. Call today or book a consultation online.