Faecal Incontinence - how can a physio help with that?
It can be tricky to start a conversation about problems with your bowels, but at The Physiotherapy Clinic in Cammeray, Bondi Junction and the shire (Woolooware) we have these types of conversations every day. Here is some information you might find interesting.
What is faecal incontinence?
Faecal incontinence is the involuntary loss of stool. This can be linked to a sudden strong urge to pass a bowel motion, or the leakage can be passive and happen without you necessarily being aware. Clearly this can create a lot of anxiety and embarrassment, significantly impacting quality of life.
How common is faecal incontinence?
Way more common than you think! It will affect 1 in 8 people, yet the studies show that only 2 of those 8 people will actively seek help. At our clinics in Cammeray, Bondi Junction and Woolooware, we treat a lot of bowel disorders, but often people have come to see us for other problems, and it is during our conversation that they will tell us about their bowels.
What can cause faecal incontinence?
There are many, many things which can contribute to faecal incontinence. We commonly see issues of stool consistency, co-ordination of the muscles of defecation and nerve damage. The leading cause of faecal incontinence in women is an injury to the anal sphincter whilst giving birth. This is known as an obstetric anal sphincter injury.
But I had my children many years ago - could this still be the cause?
Yes absolutely! As we age, the quality of the sphincters around the anus start to decline. If there has been a sudden decrease in strength after your had your children, this will become more apparent as you age.
Is there anything that can be done?
Yes, there are lots of options when it comes to optimising your bowel control. The most important step is explaining your symptoms to a health professional. At The Physiotherapy Clinic in the shire (Woolooware), Bondi Junction and Cammeray, our women's health physio's are experienced in asking all of the right questions, assessing thoroughly and figuring out the best treatment pathway for you. We are connected with a wide network of specialists should you need further investigations.
Be brave, start the conversation.