Procedures Fecal Incontinence Treatment

Understanding your condition

Accidental bowel leakage, also called fecal incontinence or the loss of bowel control, is more common than you may think. Unfortunately, millions of people suffer every day from accidents and leaks. Some people may also experience feelings of sadness and depression and may not want to leave the house for fear of having an accident.

This condition can have a dramatic impact on your quality of life—limiting your daily activities and affecting your relationships. However, some people avoid seeking treatment. This might be because of embarrassment, or simply because they have been told that fecal incontinence is just a part of getting old.

Fecal incontinence is not a normal part of aging. It is a medical problem. But there is hope. Successful treatment can give you more control to help improve your quality of life. That’s why it is important to talk to your doctor as soon as possible to get the treatment you need.

Indication for SOLESTA

SOLESTA® is indicated for the treatment of fecal incontinence in patients 18 years and older who have failed conservative therapy (eg. diet, fiber therapy, anti-motility medications).

Important Safety Information about SOLESTA

It is important for you to know that SOLESTA® (hyaluronic acid/dextranomer) does not work for everyone and you may not benefit from SOLESTA treatment. It is also important for you to know that you may not experience immediate improvement after your first treatment with SOLESTA and the full effects of SOLESTA may not be apparent until 3 to 6 months after treatment.

People who have an infection or who are currently experiencing bleeding in the rectum or anus should not receive SOLESTA. People who have problems in the rectum or anus, such as tumor, abnormal anatomy, large dilated blood vessels (hemorrhoids), or cracks in the tissue (anal fissures) should not receive SOLESTA. People who have active inflammation of their bowels (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) should not receive SOLESTA. People who have trouble fighting off infection (immunodeficiency disorder such as HIV/AIDS) or who take medication to suppress the immune system, such as those used in cancer or organ transplant patients, should not receive SOLESTA. If you already have a device or material placed in your rectum or anus, or if you have had radiation treatments in your pelvic area before, you should not receive SOLESTA.

The most common risks of treatment with SOLESTA in the clinical study were mild or moderate pain or discomfort in the rectum or anus, and minor to moderate bleeding or spotting from the rectum following treatment. Some patients experience fever, abdominal pain, diarrhea, or constipation after treatment.

More serious risks including infection and inflammation of the tissues in the anus may occur but are not common.

Understanding bowel function

It is important to know how normal bowels work to fully understand accidental bowel leakage (also known as fecal incontinence). When your bowels function normally, you are able to control the release of your stool (waste matter). The process of a normal bowel movement begins when the rectum fills with stool. The brain then sends signals to the anus and anal sphincter muscles to either

Relax—which allows the rectum to release stool when desired, or
Contract—to hold stool in when a bowel movement is not wanted

Causes of fecal incontinence

Some things can make accidental bowel leakage (also known as fecal incontinence) more likely. Common causes include:

  • Poor diet
  • Frequent diarrhea or constipation
  • Weakening of anal sphincter muscles
  • Damage to the rectum or surrounding nerves
  • This can happen to women during childbirth
  • Damage to the rectal walls
  • This can be caused by surgery or injury


You can get help

Accidental bowel leakage (which your doctor may also call fecal incontinence) is not a normal part of aging. It is a medical problem, and most people can get some relief with the right treatment. Simply knowing more about your particular condition can give you a better sense of control. The first step is to talk to your doctor. A doctor can usually make a diagnosis based on a physical exam, your medical history, and tests that will provide better insight about your condition. The tests can be completed during an outpatient visit.

Tests to diagnose fecal incontinence may include:

This is a test that checks the tightness of your anal muscles. They may be too weak to function

Anorectal ultrasound
This test checks the structure of your muscles. There may be something wrong, causing them not to work

Stool tests
These tests check to see if there’s a reason for diarrhea (such as infection)

A camera fitted into a thin tube is used to see if there are problems such as tumors, inflammation, or scar tissue in the rectum or colon

DRE (digital rectal exam)
This physical exam is used to identify patients with fecal impaction and overflow

Treatment options

How you can begin to take control

Once your doctor diagnoses you with accidental bowel leakage (also known as fecal incontinence), you can be treated and may be able to look forward to an improved lifestyle. While there is no quick fix for your condition, there are several options available. Treatments range from simple to more complex. So, if the first thing you try doesn’t work, don’t get stressed—talk with your doctor to choose your next treatment.

Common treatments:

  • Dietary changes. Adding fiber to your diet can add bulk and make it easier to control your stools if they are watery. Sometimes avoiding certain foods like coffee, tea, or chocolate can help as well
  • Medication. Some medicines help you make bowel movements on a regular basis. These are called laxatives. Other medicines slow down the movement of stool through the bowel
  • Bowel training. These are exercises that help you relearn how to control bowel movements. One kind of bowel training is called biofeedback
  • Exercise. Strengthening exercises (called Kegel exercises or pelvic floor exercises) can help control fecal leakage. They involve contracting the muscles of the anus, buttocks, and pelvis, and then holding as hard as possible for 5 seconds, and then relaxing. A series of 30 of these exercises should be done 3 times a day
  • Injectable tissue bulking agent. Materials are injected to improve the bulk and thickness of the anal walls.
  • Surgery. These procedures include sphincteroplasty, colostomy, sphincter replacement, and sacral nerve stimulation. Many of these procedures involve the repair or replacement of a part of your anus or sphincter. With sacral nerve stimulation, a transmitting device is implanted under the skin of the upper buttock area to send electrical impulses to the nerves that control the sphincter

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