Faecal incontinence

Faecal incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of faecal material from the bowel. It can occur passively, without awareness or it may be preceded by urgency. Faecal incontinence affects an estimated 2% of the general population, but the prevalence increases with age; up to 11% of men and 26% of women over 50 years of age are affected.

At Intus we offer the entire range of diagnostic assessment and modern therapeutic management of faecal incontinence to our patients. A full consultation/evaluation of the individual underlying cause of the symptoms is assessed and we offer a multidisciplinary approach in to planning an effective treatment plan. This can mean the full integration of skills from physiotherapists, dietitians, specialist IBS nurse, gynaecologists and gastroenterologists to address the individual patients’ needs. We provide a highly professional service, and we respect the patients’ privacy and dignity at all times.

The treatment of faecal incontinence is usually conservative with dietary and fluid management approaches, antidiarrhoeal medication or biofeedback therapy. Some patients, however remain with persistent severe incontinence. For many of these patients a permanent colostomy has been the only available option. Managing a permanent colostomy dramatically reduces the patient's quality of life. Permanent colostomy also involves considerable ongoing costs. Complications from colostomies are common, with as many as 40% requiring further surgery to manage parastomal hernias or stomal prolapse.

Alternative surgical procedures for faecal incontinence are dynamic graciloplasty and artificial bowel sphincter implantation which are major operations but have unfortunately shown disappointing long-term results. Sacral nerve modulation is one of the newer procedures available that is offered at the Intus clinic with promising results.