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      I don’t have to (just) live with this? Solutions for Fecal Incontinence.

      The sudden panic that comes along with knowing you just had a bowel accident is devastating and embarrassing.

      These types of symptoms are collectively called fecal incontinence (FI) and it disrupts the lives of one in 12 Americans. FI occurs when you are unable to control bowel movements, causing stool (feces) to leak unexpectedly from the rectum.

      FI affects over 6 million Americans, with the largest proportion being women. Risk factors for developing FI include older age and has a history of tears, episiotomies, and forceps delivery during childbirth.

      Additional symptoms of FI include frequent bowel accidents, the inability to resist the urge to go to the bathroom and the inability to feel when you need to have a bowel movement. Sometimes patients describe the urge to pass gas but then have an unexpected bowel accident.

      FI symptoms can take a person’s life hostage, as they must plan activities around the bathroom, monitor what and how much they eat, and often use pads and protective garments. They often pass on making travel plans and often miss out important family functions like weddings, which can increase feelings of isolation and depression.

      Many assume fecal incontinence is just a normal part of aging and think they have to live with it. But FI is a highly treatable condition.

      Is it time to consider InterStim™ therapy/treatment?

      Thankfully, there is an established and effective treatment for fecal incontinence, called sacral nerve stimulation, called InterStim™, which helps patients suffering urinary incontinence and is effective in treating patients suffering with both bowel and bladder accidents.

      InterStim™ is a safe, proven, and effective therapy that consists of an implantable system that gently stimulates the sacral nerves to help restore (good word choice) normal bladder and bowel function. An InterStim™ implant consists of a tined lead and an implantable neurostimulator (INS). The tined lead is placed parallel to the sacral nerve.

      InterStim™ therapy begins with a simple in-office evaluation and procedure that helps you determine, in as few as three to seven days, whether an implanted system is likely to provide long-term control over your symptoms.

      RGA has provided InterStim™ evaluation to our community since 2016. Nearly 82% of patients who underwent the trial InterStim™ with RGA achieved a greater than 50% improvement in fecal incontinence symptoms with the permanent implant. This is in line with data from clinical trials and other studies.

      Dr. Tannous, Director of RGA’s GI Motility Program, shared, "Of the patients that have followed up in our clinic so far, 92% report a significant improvement in their quality of life after therapy. Even more impressive is that nearly three out of four patients now describe their accidents as little to none."

      Fecal incontinence is a condition affecting many people in our world and fortunately our community has access to InterStim™ right here at home. If you are experiencing frequent bowel accidents, an inability to resist the urge to go, or arrange your life around a bathroom, call us at 815-397-7340 to schedule an appointment.