HOW IS FECAL INCONTINENCE DIAGNOSED?
The first part of the diagnosis is a discussion with a colon & rectal surgeon about your symptoms and medical/surgical history. A diet and medication history is very important.
Your lifestyle (active, retired, working, sedentary etc.) and goals are also discussed.
A physical exam of the anal area is done.
If needed, several tests may be used. These tests are painless and do not require a bowel prep. Anal-rectal manometry (testing of the anal sphincter muscles and reflexes) as well as nerve testing. This is a 30 minute outpatient test.
Ultrasound, CAT scans, MRI, and colonoscopy may be needed.
WHAT CAN BE DONE TO CORRECT THE PROBLEM?
Muscle strengthening exercises
Surgical anal sphincter repair
Artificial sphincter placement
WHICH TREATMENT IS RIGHT FOR ME?
Everyone is different, however for mild incontinence, dietary changes and constipating medications usually work. For moderate incontinence muscle strengthening exercises and biofeedback is helpful. For severe fecal incontinence surgery may be the best option.