Developing bowel incontinence can be scary and embarrassing, especially when it becomes a problem suddenly. In most cases, you will want to see a doctor about this problem. They can run a few tests, diagnose you, and then recommend treatments that address the diagnosis. Here are three types of diagnoses your doctor is likely to consider for someone with sudden bowel incontinence.
Hemorrhoids are basically bulging veins around the anus. They cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms, including itching and pain in this area. Because they can physically stop the anus from closing all of the way, they can lead to bowel incontinence. The hemorrhoid may create a little "gap" when your anus is otherwise closed, allowing stool to seep through.
Your doctor can likely diagnose hemorrhoids just by looking at your anus. If you do have hemorrhoids, your doctor may recommend a cream to reduce their size and ease your discomfort. More serious cases often require surgical removal.
It's possible that you are developing a neurological condition that is affecting your ability to control your bowels. This can be an early sign of multiple sclerosis, or it can be a sign of Parkinson's. Your doctor will likely ask you if your incontinence has been accompanied by any of these other symptoms:
- Tingling in the extremities
- An increase in clumsiness
- Blurry vision
- Brain fog or trouble with memory
There are a few neurological tests that your doctor can run to get a better idea of what's going on. The good news is that while both MS and Parkinson's are chronic diseases, there are medications that can control the symptoms and help slow the progression of the diseases.
Did you recently have a bout of constipation or a fecal impaction? Sometimes, when a clump of hard stool gets stuck in your rectum for a longer time, it can stretch the rectum out and lead to incontinence in the following days. Luckily, in this case, incontinence is usually short-lived. Your rectum should regain muscle tone in the coming weeks, and the incontinence should ease. However, it is still a good idea to see a doctor so they can rule out other, more serious causes of bowel incontinence.
Bowel incontinence can be quite embarrassing. However, most of the common causes of this condition are treatable and manageable. Talk to your doctor to learn more about bowel incontinence.