According to Nancy Norton, founder of the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD), countless individuals suffer from incontinence, yet it's a problem that doctors often miss and patients are reluctant to discuss. Dr. Oz talks with Nancy about the causes of incontinence and what people can do to find treatment.
What it is: Incontinence—or more specifically, fecal incontinence—is the involuntary loss of solid or liquid stool. Sufferers often feel embarrassed and helpless, Nancy says, and experience an impaired quality of life overall.
What causes it: There are numerous causes of incontinence. "It's really a symptom of something that's gone wrong," Nancy says. Some causes include trauma while giving birth, inflammatory bowel disease, complications from diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, irritable bowel syndrome and spinal chord injuries, she says.
How to treat it: Nancy says the first step is telling your doctor, as there are many available treatment options today, with further research underway. Medical therapies include surgery, nerve stimulation and biofeedback, which can help strengthen pelvic floor muscles and the anal sphincter. Nancy says an artificial sphincter implant can be an effective treatment option.
Published on June 25, 2007