Physicians offer new procedure to manage fecal incontinence, an underreported and debilitating condition

September 27, 2012

Fecal incontinence, or the inability to control the bowels, is a highly underreported and stigmatized condition, according to colorectal surgeons at Loyola University Health System (LUHS).

"This is a debilitating condition, which drastically affects a person's quality of life," said Dana Hayden, MD, MPH, colorectal surgeon, LUHS. "People with fecal incontinence avoid leaving the house to prevent an embarrassing accident from happening in public."

Fecal incontinence is more common in older adults, and although it affects women more commonly, men can also suffer from this disorder. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including damage to the pelvic nerves or muscles from trauma such as childbirth, and anal or rectal surgery; diseases like diabetes; or complications from radiation. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that more than 18 million Americans have fecal incontinence, yet Loyola doctors believe it is much higher.

"Fecal incontinence isn't something that people talk about, yet we know from our practice that it is extremely common," said Dr. Hayden, who also is an assistant professor in the Division of Colorectal Surgery at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "The good news is there are options to manage this condition."

Loyola now offers a new procedure for patients with fecal incontinence called sacral nerve stimulation. The U.S. recently approved this minimally for the treatment of chronic fecal incontinence in patients who have failed or are not candidates for more conservative treatments. This procedure also has been used for years at Loyola in patients with urinary urge incontinence.

The technology uses an implantable apparatus, consisting of a thin wire and a neurostimulator, or pacemakerlike device, to stimulate the nerves that control bowel function. This technology uses an external during a trial assessment period. If the device is effective, physicians implant a device that can be used indefinitely. This procedure is done in an outpatient setting under mild sedation. Patients return home the same day with minimal discomfort.

"Studies have shown that sacral nerve stimulation reduces incontinent episodes and increases quality of life in a majority of patients with chronic ," Dr. Hayden said. "These are dramatic, long-term results for patients who are dealing with chronic bowel control issues."

Explore further: New therapy provides hope for millions of people suffering from bowel incontinence

Related Stories

New therapy provides hope for millions of people suffering from bowel incontinence

July 18, 2011
A new procedure is now available for the treatment of chronic bowel incontinence, a disorder impacting the lives of more than 18 million Americans. The treatment, called InterStim Therapy is a minimally invasive procedure ...

Caring for patients with fecal incontinence costs more than $4,000 per person each year

May 31, 2012
Care for patients with fecal incontinence costs $4,110 per person for both medical and non-medical costs like loss of productivity, according to new research from the University of Michigan.

URMC surgeon is nation's first to implant pacemaker-like device for bowel incontinence

July 4, 2011
(Medical Xpress) -- Since the technology secured FDA approval this spring, a University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) surgeon this month became the first in the nation to implant a pacemaker-like device that could help ...

Nerve stimulation procedure can improve bowel control problems

October 21, 2011
An estimated 18 million adults suffer silently with a life-altering condition, known as bowel incontinence, because they believe the problem can’t be fixed.

Botox now used for urinary incontinence

March 14, 2012
When you think of Botox injections, you probably think of getting rid of unwanted wrinkles around the eyes or forehead, but recently the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved using the injections to help patients ...

Recommended for you

Anti-malaria drug shows promise as Zika virus treatment

November 17, 2017
A new collaborative study led by researchers at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute (SBP) and UC San Diego School of Medicine has found that a medication used to prevent and treat malaria may also be effective ...

Decrease in sunshine, increase in Rickets

November 17, 2017
A University of Toronto student and professor have teamed up to discover that Britain's increasing cloudiness during the summer could be an important reason for the mysterious increase in Rickets among British children over ...

Scientists identify biomarkers that indicate likelihood of survival in infected patients

November 17, 2017
Scientists have identified a set of biomarkers that indicate which patients infected with the Ebola virus are most at risk of dying from the disease.

Research team unlocks secrets of Ebola

November 16, 2017
In a comprehensive and complex molecular study of blood samples from Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, published today (Nov. 16, 2017) in Cell Host and Microbe, a scientific team led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison has ...

Study raises possibility of naturally acquired immunity against Zika virus

November 16, 2017
Birth defects in babies born infected with Zika virus remain a major health concern. Now, scientists suggest the possibility that some women in high-risk Zika regions may already be protected and not know it.

A structural clue to attacking malaria's 'Achilles heel'

November 16, 2017
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and PATH's Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) have shed light on how the human immune system recognizes the malaria parasite though investigation of antibodies generated ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.