The Growing Array Of Options For Managing Fecal Incontinence

Treatment Options For Fecal Incontinence

It wasn’t long ago that those suffering with fecal incontinence had just a handful of options. They could try behavioral modifications (still largely used today), absorbent products to help manage the condition, bowel retraining, medications, or surgery. But in the last several years, companies have been coming out with more and more innovative products to manage ABL. 

We’ve rounded up some of the newest products and therapies to help you control ABL.

Fenix® Implant:

The Fenix® Implant, is a small, flexible band of connected metal beads with magnetic cores that is placed around the anal canal to treat accidental bowel leakage (ABL). The beads will separate temporarily to allow the controlled passage of stool. The magnetic force between the beads then brings the implant back to the closed position to prevent unexpected opening of the anal canal that may lead to ABL.

Renew® Insert:

The Renew® Insert is a new product designed to comfortably fit with your body to form a seal with the rectum, which blocks the anal passage and prevents leaks from occurring.  

Eclipse™:

Eclipse™, which is fitted first by a physician, is an inflatable balloon device that is inserted into the vagina. When inflated, the balloon puts pressure through the vaginal wall onto the rectal area, thereby reducing the number of FI episodes.

SECCA:

The SECCA procedure is an outpatient procedure that can be performed in your doctor’s office. It is best used when other more conservative therapies have failed. The non-surgical procedure works by delivering radiofrequency energy to the tissues of the anal canal, causing the tissues to shrink and tighten.  SECCA takes about 45 minutes to perform and patients are able to return home 1-2 hours after the procedure. Most patients begin to see an improvement in 4 to 6 weeks.

InterStim™ System: 

Sacral Neuromodulation, delivered through the InterStim™ System, works by targeting the communication problem between the brain and the sacral nerves, which control the muscles related to bowel function.  This Bowel Control Therapy targets the symptoms of bowel incontinence by modulating the sacral nerves with mild electrical pulses. Sacral Neuromodulation typically only takes about 20 minutes in a doctor’s office.

Talk with your doctor to see if one of these products may work for you.  If you need help finding a physician, check out the NAFC Specialist Locator.

How To Perform Bowel Retraining To Treat Accidental Bowel Leakage Or Constipation

How To Perform Bowel Retraining To Treat Accidental Bowel Leakage Or Constipation

Those who struggle with bowel control issues know full well the impact it can have. From fecal incontinence (also known as accidental bowel leakage), to constipation, not being regular can be be a huge nuisance, and can cause embarrassment, shame and frustration.

One way to manage bowel control is with bowel retraining, which literally means to “teach” your bowel how to function properly again.  By stimulating the bowel at regular intervals, you can train it to empty regularly, and with a normal consistency.

Some tips before you begin:

  1. Keep a Bowel Diary.  Knowing how often and when you empty your bowel now will help you later on as you begin the retraining process.  Keep a bowel diary for at least 4 days to get a good idea of both your voiding schedule, and what you’re eating and drinking.  
  2. Manage Your Diet.  Speaking of eating and drinking, what you consume can have a huge effect on your bowels.  To maintain a good bowel consistency, be sure to consume high fiber foods, like vegetables, beans and whole grain foods.  If you suffer from loose stools, using a bulking agent, such as psyllium, which can be found at health food stores, can help.  And don’t forget to drink plenty of water, which is vital when trying to maintain a healthy bowel.
  3. Be Consistent. Select a time of day that works for you to perform this exercise and stick with it.  This will ensure that you are training your bowel not only to function properly, but at the same time each day as well.

How to perform bowel retraining:

  1. Insert a lubricated finger into the anus and make a circular motion until the sphincter relaxes. This may take a few minutes.
  2. After you have done the stimulation, sit in a normal posture for a bowel movement. If you are able to walk, sit on the toilet or bedside commode. If you are confined to the bed, use a bedpan. Get into as close to a sitting position as possible, or use a left side lying position if you are unable to sit.
  3. Try to get as much privacy as possible. Some people find that reading while sitting on the toilet helps them relax enough to have a bowel movement.
  4. If digital stimulation does not produce a bowel movement within 20 minutes, repeat the procedure.
  5. Try to contract the muscles of the abdomen and bear down while releasing the stool. Some people find it helpful to bend forward while bearing down. This increases the abdominal pressure and helps empty the bowel.
  6. Perform digital stimulation every day until you establish a pattern of regular bowel movements.
  7. You can also stimulate bowel movements by using a suppository (glycerin or bisacodyl) or a small enema. Some people drink warm prune juice or fruit nectar to stimulate bowel movements.

The most important thing to remember when practicing bowel retraining is to be consistent, and to not get frustrated if you don’t see results right away.  This process usually takes a few weeks to develop a normal routine.  If you find that you are still having problems after several weeks of bowel retraining, or if you have additional questions, be sure to consult your physician.