Treatment and therapy of fecal incontinence
It is important that patients overcome any feeling of embarrassment and consult a doctor. They should not accept their situation because there is a number of helpful aids and effective therapies. The causes of fecal incontinence should be diagnosed after a thorough medical examination. Treatment depends on the symptoms and underlying causes of fecal incontinence.
There are many therapy options:
Pelvic floor training
The exercises strengthen the pelvic floor and the sphincter. Pelvic floor training is ideal for women with connective tissue weakness after childbirth. Regular training modules aim at regaining voluntary control of the anal sphincter. Pelvic floor training can be supported by electrotherapy.
With a small intracorporeal electrode in the anal canal, biofeedback helps become consciously aware of the contraction and relaxation of and finally control the sphincter. Visual and acoustic feedback confirms successful contraction. Repeated application (e.g. also in combination with electrotherapy) indicate improvements thus allowing comparisons and motivating the patient.
Electrotherapy strengthens the sphincter muscles with electrical pulses. This increases the ability to contract the pelvic floor and the sphincter.
Electrotherapy helps with targeted sensitization, activation and strengthening of the pelvic floor by functional improvement.
Electrodes are inserted into the anus or attached to the skin. Pelvic floor training is supported by the electrotherapy device.
Application is very easy and ideal for home use. Patients can use some electrotherapy devices at home according to the expert’s instructions (STIWELL med4).
- Combination of electrotherapy and biofeedback
Ideally, the electrotherapy device has a biofeedback function. The patient experiences to which extend they can contract their muscles. The patient sees even minute improvements and is thus motivated to continue exercising.
- Combination of electrotherapy and EMG-triggered electrostimulation
Electrotherapy devices with EMG-triggered stimulation function measure the activity of the pelvic floor muscles. Reaching a preset threshold by voluntary muscle contraction triggers electrostimulation and the electrical pulse completes the voluntary contraction.
After consultation with a doctor, previously learned toilet habits are changed. The patient learns to voluntarily void their bowels once a day at the same time.
Drugs can be used to treat underlying causes such as enteritis. The consistency of the stool or defecation can also be affected by the administration of drugs to avoid involuntary defecation.
Several surgical interventions are available to regain fecal continence. Surgery should only be considered when all non-invasive treatment options have been unsuccessful and there is no other way to alleviate the problem.
This article contains only general information and must not be used for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. This information does not replace medical advice.