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Treatment of Fecal Incontinence In Women of Childbearing Age

Treatment of Fecal Incontinence In Women of Childbearing Age

Fecal Incontinence, the involuntary loss of bowel control leading to the leakage of feces, is a distressing condition that can significantly impact a woman’s quality of life, self-esteem, as well as emotional well-being. Women of childbearing age who experience this incontinence face unique challenges, as it can affect their ability to engage in daily activities and may pose additional concerns during pregnancy and childbirth. This article explores the treatment options available for fecal incontinence in women of childbearing age, aiming to provide a comprehensive understanding of the interventions that can restore confidence and improve their quality of life.

Understanding Fecal Incontinence In Women of Childbearing Age

This can result from various causes, including childbirth trauma, pelvic floor muscle weakness or injury, nerve damage, inflammatory bowel disease, as well as certain medical conditions. In women of childbearing age, childbirth-related factors often play a significant role in the development of Fecal Incontinence. The stretching and trauma to the pelvic floor muscles during delivery can lead to damage and weaken the anal sphincter, resulting in bowel control problems. Prolonged labour, forceps delivery and infection in the episiotomy scar are very common causes.

How Common Is Fecal Incontinence In The Society

  • Worldwide Incidence:

According to estimates, the prevalence of Fecal Incontinence in the general adult population ranges from 2% to 15%. The incidence tends to increase with age, and it is more common in women compared to men.

  • Incidence In India:

In India, specific incidence rates for fecal incontinence are not widely available. However, studies indicate that the prevalence of this incontinence in India ranges from 1% to 3% in the general population. Similar to global trends, it is more prevalent in women as well as increases with age.

It’s important to note that the incidence and prevalence rates can vary based on the population studied, the diagnostic criteria used, and cultural factors that may influence reporting. Additionally, due to the sensitive nature of fecal incontinence, it is often underreported, leading to potential underestimation of its true incidence.

Treatment Approaches

1. Lifestyle And Dietary Modifications:

  • Dietary Adjustments: Managing bowel movements through fiber-rich diets, adequate fluid intake, and avoiding trigger foods can help regulate bowel movements and reduce episodes of incontinence.
  • Bowel Management Techniques: Establishing a regular bowel routine, including scheduled toileting, can help manage symptoms effectively.

2. Pelvic Floor Exercises:

  • Kegel Exercises: Strengthening the pelvic floor muscles through regular Kegel Exercises can improve muscle tone and control, leading to better bowel control.

3. Medications:

  • Antidiarrheal Medications: Certain medications can help control diarrhea, which can contribute to fecal incontinence.

4. Biofeedback Therapy:

  • Biofeedback involves using sensors to monitor muscle activity as well as providing feedback to improve muscle coordination and control. 

5. Transanal Irrigation:

  • Transanal irrigation involves the use of a device to introduce fluid into the rectum to facilitate regular emptying, thus reducing the risk of bowel accidents. 

6. Surgical Interventions:

  • In cases where conservative measures are ineffective, surgical options may be considered, including sphincter repair or reconstruction, sacral nerve stimulation, or other specialized procedures tailored to individual needs. In fact, surgical treatment if required should be done by surgeons who are trained in this surgery. Colorectal surgeons are trained in surgeries of the anal sphincter. However, there may not be many such surgeons available in your area.

Pregnancy And Childbirth Considerations

For women of childbearing age planning pregnancy or currently pregnant, managing Fecal Incontinence can be especially challenging. However, in most cases, conservative approaches and non-invasive treatments can be utilized during this period. Pelvic floor exercises, dietary modifications, and bowel management techniques can help alleviate symptoms as well as improve control. Consulting with healthcare professionals specialized in pelvic floor health during pregnancy and after childbirth is crucial for guidance on safe and effective treatment options.

Psychological Support

Living with fecal incontinence can have a significant psychological impact, leading to feelings of embarrassment, shame, and social isolation. Seeking support from healthcare providers, counselors, or support groups can provide emotional assistance and coping strategies.


Fecal Incontinence can significantly impact the quality of life for women of childbearing age, affecting their physical, emotional, as well as social well-being. Recognizing the importance of tailored treatments, including lifestyle modifications, pelvic floor exercises, medication, biofeedback, trans anal irrigation, and surgical interventions when necessary, is essential for restoring bowel control and confidence. Additionally, considering the unique challenges faced during pregnancy and childbirth, a multidisciplinary approach involving healthcare professionals specialized in pelvic floor health can provide comprehensive care and support. Surgery is required  for fecal incontinence in women of childbearing age and the results are excellent.  

Also Read:

Fecal Incontinence Surgeon in Chandigarh

What Are The First Signs Of Fecal Incontinence 

Fecal Incontinence can be cured: A real life story