What it is, how it manifests, and can physical therapy can help.
Fecal incontinence is characterized by the inability to control bowel movements. Bowel leakage is more common than most people assume and can become more problematic as individuals age. One study found that minor bowel incontinence (staining underwear or leaking less than 2 tsp of stool) affects 7.4% of adult males and 6.9% of adult females.
The pelvic floor muscles play a role in both urine and stool (bowel) control. Weakness or dysfunction in these muscles can lead to difficulty maintaining bowel continence, especially if there is a history of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), loose stools, or anorectal surgery/trauma. Hormonal imbalances, such as low estrogen, can also lead to impaired passive sphincter closure.
A pelvic health physical therapist can perform an assessment to determine what is contributing to these issues and develop an individualized exercise program to help reduce or eliminate symptoms.
Mendwell is a Pelvic Health Physical Therapy clinic serving patients in Portland, Lake Oswego, Beaverton, and Tigard. Our team of specialists are passionate about helping patients improve pelvic function, relieve pain, and get back to feeling their best. Reach out to learn how we can help.