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Management of Fecal Incontinence

By Adil E. Bharucha


Fecal incontinence is a common condition that often impairs quality of life. It is generally caused by a variety of conditions that are associated with anorectal sensorimotor dysfunction and/or diarrhea. A detailed characterization of symptoms, particularly bowel habits, is useful for assessing symptom severity and guiding management. A careful digital rectal examination is invaluable for gauging anal resting and squeeze pressures and anorectal evacuation. Tests should be tailored to age, symptom severity, and response to previous therapy. Anorectal manometry and sphincter imaging are useful starting tests. Depending upon the clinical circumstances, additional testing and therapeutic options may be useful. Fecal continence can be improved by measures to regulate bowel habits and pelvic floor retraining. Surgical repair of anal sphincter defects improves fecal continence in the short but not in the long term. Newer surgical therapies and devices are of limited and/or unproven utility

Topics: Feature
Publisher: Millennium Medical Publishing
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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