Bowel incontinence is a condition that affects the bowel control of an individual. It can be unpredictable, embarrassing and difficult to cope with. There are options available to treat this condition and today you will read some general information on why some people suffer from incontinence, what causes it and how it can be treated.
What Is Bowel Incontinence?
Bowel incontinence is the inability to hold in faeces and it’s a problem that’s estimated to affect up to 10% of people in the UK. It can happen after childbirth, when someone has had surgery on their rectum, or if they have a permanent colostomy bag. Faecal incontinence can also be caused by a weak pelvic floor or poor muscle tone, which means that you may find yourself having bowel movements without being aware of it. You may even feel like you have an urge to go to the toilet but are unable to do so before having an accident.
Symptoms of Bowel Incontinence
Bowel incontinence can be a temporary situation or something that happens on a regular basis. You may suddenly feel the need to use the bathroom (called urge incontinence) or you may not realise you need to go (called passive incontinence). Other bowel issues may include: Diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, and gas.
What Are The Causes Of Bowel Incontinence?
Bowel incontinence is common after a trauma to the lower abdomen, such as a fall or car accident, or when the muscles around the anus have been stretched. Giving birth vaginally can result in temporary or permanent damage to the anal sphincters. This is why women are affected twice as often as men by accidental bowel leakage.
Problems can occur after anal surgery, such as damage to the anal sphincters that control bowel movements, or to the nerves that carry signals to the brain.
There are many potential causes of bowel incontinence, including:
- Diarrhoea (often caused by infection or irritable bowel syndrome)
- Stools that have been impacted (often caused by severe constipation in older adults)
- Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)
- Damaged nerves (from diabetes, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, or other conditions)
- Radiotherapy treatment for prostate cancer can damage the rectum after radiation.
- Impairment of cognitive (thinking) abilities (such as after a stroke or advanced Alzheimer’s disease)
- Prolapse of the rectum into the anus
- An unusual condition in which the rectum pushes through the vaginal wall
- Loss of rectum elasticity as a result of scarring and stiffening after surgery, radiation, or inflammatory bowel disease
Postpartum Bowel Incontinence
Faecal incontinence is a common problem for new mothers who have recently given birth. It may occur if you don’t have enough support during delivery or if your baby was delivered with forceps or a vacuum extractor.
In some cases, childbirth can injure the anal sphincters, leading to incontinence. This is more likely if:
- You had a large baby
- Your baby was delivered using forceps
- The delivery was vacuum-assisted
- You had an episiotomy to prevent the baby’s head from tearing your vaginal wall during birth
PRP Therapy To Treat Bowel Incontinence
In the past, bowel incontinence was a condition that was often associated with old age. Although it’s still more common in seniors, it can affect people of all ages—and it’s far from inevitable. If you have bowel incontinence, you may have tried many different treatments to alleviate your symptoms. While some treatments are more effective than others, no single treatment is guaranteed to work for everyone.
That’s why we offer PRP therapy in Harley Street, London, which has been shown to help patients with bowel incontinence feel better and regain their quality of life. PRP stands for platelet-rich plasma therapy, and it uses your own blood to treat your symptoms. It works by stimulating the production of new collagen and elastin in your body, which helps to strengthen tissues that have been weakened by incontinence. In addition to relieving symptoms of incontinence, PRP therapy can also help treat haemorrhoids and varicose veins—common conditions that may also be caused by weakened connective tissue.
Bowel incontinence is a common and distressing problem but it’s not something you need to live with. PRP treatments for sphincter rejuvenation can help you get your life back.