Faecal incontinence is something that people don’t often talk about. Faecal incontinence often effects women who have had an injury during child birth and can affect between two to twenty percent of the population.
“It could be due to trauma, post-surgical, radiation, neurologic,” explained Dr. Elsa Goldstein, Colon and Rectal Surgeon.
Patients who have trouble controlling bowels are first instructed to change their diets. “High fibre foods and good fibre supplements,” suggested Dr. Goldstein.
Some patients get biofeedback, others get surgery.
“Some people undergo sphincter repair if there is a specific sphincter injury due to child birth or surgery, and if that didn’t work, that would generally be the end of the line, except for a colostomy,” said Dr. Goldstein.
Ellen Moskal has been dealing with faecal incontinence for eight years.
Moskal was always told she needed a colostomy bag, but thanks to Dr. Goldstein, she was given a brand new option, Interstim. It is a device that is temporarily placed under the skin in the upper buttocks, and after a two week trial period, if they patients gain control of their bowels by at least 50%, it can be placed permanently.
“Placing a wire into the lower back, and goes into an area where there are sacral nerves, and that wire is connected to an external neurostimulator,” Dr. Goldstein explained.
Dr. Goldstein said, “It seems to effect both the sensory component and motor component, so patients are able to sense when they have to go to the bathroom, and can control it if they have the urge.”
With the use of this remote device, they can increase the stimulation with a click of a button. Of those patients who use this device, “40% of patients have complete continence,” said Dr. Goldstein
InterStim Therapy is an FDA-approved neurostimulation therapy that targets the communication problem between the brain and the nerves that control bowel function. The InterStim Therapy system uses an external neurostimulator during a trial assessment period. For long-term therapy, the neurostimulator is inside your body.