Fecal incontinence or not being able to control your bowels is an embarrassing condition. You may not want to talk to your doctor about it, but it's important to get help. Fecal incontinence is more common than you probably realize. It affects a lot of people, especially seniors and women.

It can be frustrating enough to have your bowel movements leak out, but the condition can also cause skin irritation that you have to contend with. Your doctor may send you to a specialist to have tests run and to get treatment. Here are some ways to manage and treat fecal incontinence.

Find The Underlying Cause

It's important that your doctor finds the reason for your incontinence so the right type of treatment can be given. This condition can be made worse by constipation or diarrhea, and these require different treatments. Fecal incontinence can also be caused by nerve damage or muscle weakness. Your doctor may need to do imaging tests and other types of tests to determine the cause of your condition and how severe it is.

Manage The Effects

Your doctor may advise or prescribe a certain type of skin cream to use around your anus to treat skin soreness and irritation caused by fecal incontinence. You might also need to wear pads or diapers and change them often to protect your skin.

Another effect you might need to manage is odor. You may not even realize you're leaking bowel contents if you have no sensation in the area. This could cause you to have a bad odor, but you can take medication that deodorizes your bowel contents so you won't have strong odors when your bowels leak.

Change Your Lifestyle

Your doctor might want you to change your diet so you can treat diarrhea or constipation naturally. You might also need to take fiber supplements or diarrhea medications to help prevent bowel leaking. Fiber may also help with hemorrhoids that can make fecal incontinence worse.

Undergo Medical Treatments

Your doctor might send you to physical therapy for pelvic floor training and to strengthen the muscles in your anus. You might be taught exercises to do at home daily to build up strength in your pelvic floor. Your doctor might also have you try bowel training where you try to empty your bowels after meals and at the same time every day so there is less in your colon to leak out.

Nerve stimulation might be helpful if you have a nerve problem. The stimulator can cause your anus muscles to contract more powerfully. Your doctor might also recommend a vaginal balloon. This is inserted in your vagina and inflated so your anus closes and keeps bowel contents from leaking out.

Surgery may also be indicated as a treatment for fecal incontinence. Surgery can help hemorrhoids, a prolapsed rectum, and sphincter damage. For more information on fecal incontinence, contact a professional near you.