Fecal incontinence

Fecal incontinence is the inability to control bowel movements, causing stool to unexpectedly leak from the anus. This treatable condition often goes undiagnosed because patients are too embarrassed to mention their symptoms.

Our program is the only one of its kind in western Michigan. Fellowship-trained colorectal surgeons lead the clinical team and are uniquely qualified to treat the condition.

Treatment options

Depending on the severity of the symptoms, fecal incontinence may be successfully treated with nonsurgical interventions, such as diet and behavior modification, exercise therapies to restore sphincter muscle control and medications or nerve stimulation using InterStim® therapy. For more severe cases, such as rectal prolapse or rectocele, surgery is indicated.

Diet and nutrition counseling
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Your doctor will work with you to discover ways to adjust your diet. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine, increasing fiber and getting plenty of fluids can all help.

Continence medicine
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Anti-diarrheals, laxatives or fiber supplements are often used to treat fecal incontinence. We’ll work with you on an individualized approach specific to your own symptoms and concerns.

Muscle training
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Fecal incontinence can be caused by a weakened sphincter. We can train you in exercises that can help restore sphincter muscle control.

Nerve stimulation
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Biofeedback or InterStim® Therapy—nerve stimulation—are two of our unique treatments that help control fecal incontinence without surgery.

STARR repair surgery
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Sometimes fecal incontinence is due to damaged muscles. In this case, minimally invasive procedures like stapled transanal rectal repair may be a welcomed answer.

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