Fecal Incontinence Specialist

Jean A. Jaffke, M.D. -  - Colorectal Surgeon

Jean A. Jaffke, M.D.

Colorectal Surgeon located in Novi, MI

If you live with fecal incontinence, it can disrupt your regular activities and get in the way of your life. While most people who experience bowel incontinence only do so during a bout of diarrhea, chronic fecal incontinence can make it an ongoing problem. If you’re dealing with fecal incontinence, contact Jean Jaffke, MD at her practice in Novi, Michigan for help. As a double board-certified colorectal surgeon, Dr. Jaffke diagnoses and treats this troublesome condition.

Fecal Incontinence Q & A

What is fecal incontinence?

Fecal, or bowel, incontinence is a condition where you can’t control your bowel movements. The condition ranges in severity from the occasional involuntary leak to a total lack of bowel control. You may also experience gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea.

Fecal incontinence has two categories: urge incontinence or passive incontinence. Urge incontinence brings an uncontrollable urge to pass stool that doesn’t allow time to get to a bathroom. Passive incontinence leaves you unaware that you need a bowel movement until it is happening.

What causes fecal incontinence?

Fecal incontinence can have a number of causes, including:

  • Nerve damage
  • Muscle damage
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Loss of elasticity in the rectum
  • Rectal prolapse
  • Rectocele

Fecal incontinence is more common in women than in men. However, there are other risk factors such as:

  • Getting older
  • Having a condition like diabetes or multiple sclerosis that causes nerve damage
  • Having dementia
  • Having a physical disability

Regardless of the cause of your bowel incontinence, it’s critical to get treatment to avoid skin problems and emotional distress.

How is the cause of bowel incontinence diagnosed?

Dr. Jaffke provides a comprehensive consultation and exam beginning with a conversation about your lifestyle, medical history, and symptoms. She examines your anus and may perform a digital exam to feel for damage or other abnormalities.

Dr. Jaffke uses a variety of tests to identify the cause of your incontinence, including imaging studies like:

  • Colonoscopy
  • Proctosigmoidoscopy
  • Proctography
  • Anorectal ultrasonography

Dr. Jaffke needs to understand the condition causing your incontinence so she can recommend the most effective treatment.

How is fecal incontinence treated?

Dr. Jaffke offers a variety of in-office treatments to address fecal incontinence. She may suggest changes to your diet and your bathroom habits to reduce your risk of incontinence. She can also prescribe medications if constipation or diarrhea is causing your problem.

Dr. Jaffke offers Medtronic InterStim™ therapy. InterStim stimulates your sacral nerve to improve your bowel control.

If your fecal incontinence is caused by a structural problem like rectal prolapse or a rectocele, there are surgical options to repair and restore your rectum.

Many people avoid talking to their doctor about their symptoms because they’re embarrassed. However, fecal incontinence is very common, affecting around 18 million adults in the United States. The condition is often easily treated, so don’t put off getting the medical help you need any longer. Call or schedule your appointment online today.