Unmasking Fecal Incontinence and Chronic Constipation

Published on May 12, 2021

Fecal incontinence and Chronic Constipation

It’s embarrassing, uncomfortable and often debilitating. Many patients refuse to discuss it and remain hidden in the shadows. But perhaps surprisingly, fecal incontinence affects as many as one-third of all those who see a primary health care provider. In fact, according to experts, the little-discussed problem is widespread enough to be characterized as an extremely common condition.

The facts may be surprising: Fecal incontinence is experienced by:

  • 7 to 15% of adults of any age.
  • 18 to 33% of all hospitalized adults.
  • 50 to 70% of nursing home residents.

The problem increases with age.

Fecal incontinence ranges from involuntary passing of solid stool and leakage of liquid waste to simply uncontrolled passing of gas—alone or in any combination.

While these problems have multiple causes, pelvic floor, rectal and anal sphincter dysfunctions are among the most common. Injuries to the organs involved in defecation or to the parts of the nervous systems that control them can play a role.

Chronic constipation, often caused by similar factors as incontinence, is another common related condition. In addition, psychological issues or incomplete development of muscles of the colon can be causal factors in children. According to the American Gastroenterological Association:

  • 16% of the U.S. adult population have symptoms of chronic constipation
  • 33% of people age 60 and older also suffer

While often attributed to inadequate dietary fiber, physical activity and hydration, the causes often are not so simple—nor are the cures. Pelvic floor problems, including an inability to coordinate various muscles, as well as bowel dysfunctions often also play a role. Constipation may also cause fecal incontinence as liquid stool leaks around blocked solid matter that cannot be evacuated from the rectum.

Fecal incontinence, chronic constipation and related anorectal and pelvic floor disorders have been characterized as among the most psychologically and socially debilitating conditions people can suffer. But the bottom line is that whatever the etiology or extent of the problem, these afflictions remain cloaked in secrecy—even in the privacy of the physician’s office.

Given all this, isn’t it high time that we eliminate the stigma, take off the masks and look these problems straight in the eye? Isn’t it time that physicians were provided with the most current research and information on these subjects, the full range of treatments and the equipment and tools that address these problems?

At long last, this blog has been created to do just that.

Finally, we will provide a much-needed platform for discussing fecal incontinence, constipation and related pelvic floor disorders, as well as the problems patients and their healthcare providers face, while exploring the application of anorectal manometry to measure and treat people who suffer these conditions.

Google ranks Medspira as among the most visited websites focusing on anorectal manometry. It appears in the top search position for Anorectal Manometry Equipment. Likewise, its YouTube channel generates a large number of visitors, with videos that rank first in searches for Anorectal Manometry and Manometric Biofeedback.

Given that, countless people—patients and healthcare providers alike—look to Medspira to enhance their understanding of the conditions and the treatments available. Medspira is one of the most relied upon sources for keeping abreast of developments in the field.

With that in mind, we are debuting this blog to provide an expanded information source on the subject, a forum for physicians treating the condition to exchange ideas, and for patients to speak out about their problems.

With the highest editorial standards and objectivity, we will provide:

  • Updates on new studies relevant to the field
  • Interviews with leading treatment specialists
  • Information about successfully incorporating anorectal manometry testing and biofeedback into a practice
  • Answers to manometry coding, billing, and program management questions
  • Case studies of physicians who have used anorectal manometry equipment to enhance patient care, while building a new revenue stream
  • Profiles of patients who have made progress in dealing with these conditions
  • Suggestions on how physicians can better deal with patients
  • Reviews of new equipment and techniques

And much more.

In short, we are committed to bringing a full spectrum of issues out of the shadows and into the mainstream . . . in full recognition that according to the figures cited above, the problems are mainstream.

Accidental bowel leakage, bowel incontinence, and rectal incontinence—fecal incontinence actually goes by many names. Its varied causes can be assessed in multiple ways and can also be treated with a range of therapies, from surgery to medications, nerve stimulation, and biofeedback.

The good news is that most experts agree that one of the least invasive, biofeedback, has also proven to be one of the most successful for many patients, and that will be another major focus of this blog.

Pelvic floor exercises, which can be best learned through biofeedback, also help address chronic constipation problems.

Do you treat fecal incontinence and chronic constipation? Do you suspect some of your patients or someone you know suffers from one of these conditions—and suffers in silence? Here is how you can help break down barriers in starting the conversation.

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