Take Back Your Life, No More Excuses
Anal incontinence, the inability to control gas or stool, is one of the most common disorders suffered by women. It is also the least talked about. Approximately 6% of women younger than 40 and as many as 15% of older women suffer in silence. How could this be? How could so many women be suffering from such a treatable disorder? There are several reasons. First and foremost is the fact that flatal and fecal incontinence are associated with odor which is very embarrassing. Add to this the fact that most women (and their doctors) don't know that this is an extremely common and easily treated disorder.
Dr. Zipper Explains Fecal Incontinence
Do I Have Fecal Incontinence Or Flatal Incontinence?
Does gas slip out when you walk or laugh? Do you have trouble holding your gas? Are your underwear or pads stained with stool? Are you finding pieces of stool on your underwear or pads? Are you avoiding social activities in fear of the odor? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you have a very treatable disorder, Anal Incontinence. Anal incontinence includes fecal incontinence and flatal incontinence.
How Did I Get Fecal Incontinence?
Women tend to experience Fecal Incontinence and Flatal Incontinence more often than men. This is secondary to the trauma of vaginal births. The stretching of the vagina, an organ normally smaller than an elongated lemon, to accommodate a baby causes both nerve and muscular damage. During your youth your muscles are strong and can compensate for this injury. However, the loss of muscle mass and pelvic support associated with aging lead to an inability to compensate for injuries that occurred many years ago. The result is devastating, anal incontinence. Other risk factors include chronic constipation, illness, or gastrointestinal problems like inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, or colitis. Patients with cancer who’ve undergone surgery or radiation therapy to the pelvic area, may also develop Fecal Incontinence or Flatal Incontinence.
Fecal incontinence is one of our favorite problems to treat. If you’re now thinking, “these doctors must be crazy,” we are. We are crazy about giving you your life back. Of all the disorders we treat, fecal incontinence is the most disabling. Your problem is hard to hide but easy for us to fix. We realize that you may be too embarrassed to schedule an appointment for fecal incontinence or flatal incontinence…so don’t! Simply schedule an appointment for a pelvic health exam. You can discuss your symptoms with our doctors once you get here.
While Fecal Incontinence is one of the most embarrassing disorders a person can experience, the great news is that it is completely treatable. We offer several effective treatment methods that will have you hanging up your robe and reaching for that black dress in no time.
InterStim, also referred to as sacral nerve stimulation or neuromodulation, is a tiny pacemaker-like device placed deep beneath the fatty tissue of the upper buttock. This little pacemaker sends gentle calming impulses to the sacral nerves responsible for both bladder and bowel control. Interstim has been used since 1997 for bladder control and received FDA approval for the treatment of fecal incontinence in 2011. Approximately 75% of women with fecal incontinence not responding to pharmacotherapy and diet will respond to Interstim.
A great quality of this treatment option is that you are able to try a temporary Intersim before you commit to the implant procedure. You will wear a temporary nerve stimulator on your waist for two days. If the two-day test results in drastic improvement in your symptoms, we will then proceed to place the Interstim device with great confidence. The implantation procedure is completed in approximately fifteen minutes under gentle sedation. The implant, on the average, lasts for five years. After 5 years we place a new battery. Dr Zipper and his team were recently recognized by Medtronic as one of the most experienced implanters of Interstim in the world. Our entire staff is trained in InterStim management.
Have you ever heard of Restylane or Juvederm? These are hyaluronic acid gels that are injected used to treat wrinkles of the face. Plastic surgeons have used hyaluronic acid for years to plump up aging areas of the face. Solesta is a brand of hyaluronic acid gel that is used to “plump up” the lining of your anus, helping it stay closed. As unusual as that might sound, Solesta injection is a 5-minute painless office procedure that effectively treats mild to moderate anal incontinence. The area of the anus injected does not have pain nerve fibers and our patients describe minimal discomfort. Dr. Zipper was the first urogynecologist in the country to serve on the Solesta advisory panel. Our specialists have all been personally trained by Dr. Zipper.
Native Tissue Repairs
More than half of our patients with fecal incontinence and flatal incontinence are cured with a combination of diet, medication, and physiotherapy. Although there is no shortage of physical therapists simply dabbling in the treatment of anal incontinence, your interest is best served by seeking treatment by a full-time expert in pelvic floor physiotherapy. Dr. Sherri Lorraine, our director of pelvic floor physiotherapy, is central Florida’s only dual doctorate pelvic floor physiotherapy. Dr. Lorraine will provide hands-on teaching that will enable you to perform numerous exercises to improve pelvic tone and bowel control.
Other treatments include SECCA (radiofrequency shrinkage of the anal canal) and surgeries such as sphincteroplasy and artificial sphincter. Of all the options for the treatment of fecal incontinence, surgeries have the worst success to complication ratios. Sphincteroplasty is associated with a 68% success rate and a 25% complication rate. As always, we remind you to be cautious of surgeons who only offer one solution, and we encourage you to always consider a second opinion. When opting for any procedure, seek a specialist who performs the procedure often (with high success rates and low complication rates).