San Lucas Surgical Associates
Rolando Saenz, MD
General and Colorectal Surgeon located in San Antonio, TX
Bowel-movement problems, such as constipation and fecal incontinence, are not only debilitating, they can be embarrassing. Dr. Rolando H. Saenz sensitively deals with these issues at San Lucas Surgical Associates in Downtown, San Antonio, Texas, offering patients effective treatment options. With his intervention, you can go back to stress-free times when your bowel movements didn’t affect your day. Call to schedule an appointment today to learn more about the benefits of treatment.
Constipation & Fecal Incontinence
What is constipation and fecal incontinence?
Constipation refers to experiencing infrequent or strained bowel movements. Dealing with constipation from time to time is fairly common. However, suffering from chronic constipation can affect your ability to perform routine, daily tasks. Treatment for constipation often depends on the cause, which isn’t always known.
Fecal incontinence refers to an inability to control bowel movements, causing feces to leak unexpectedly or uncontrollably. It can range widely from the occasional leakage of stool caused by flatulence to a complete loss of bowel control. Although fecal incontinence can be embarrassing to deal with, it’s important to seek treatment, as intervention can vastly improve your condition.
What are signs and symptoms of constipation and fecal incontinence?
Generally, having three or fewer bowel movements per week means you’re constipated. Other common signs and symptoms of chronic constipation include:
- Lumpy or hard stools
- Strained bowel movements
- Feeling a clog in your rectum that restricts bowel movements
- Feeling unable to empty the stool from your rectum
If you notice two or more of these symptoms lasting for at least three months, your constipation may be deemed chronic.
Most people experience fecal incontinence during an occasional episode of diarrhea. However, some people experience it far more frequently. A common sign is the inability to resist the need to defecate or not making it to the restroom in time. You also may not notice the need to defecate before it happens.
Fecal incontinence may occur in conjunction with other bowel problems, including diarrhea, flatulence, bloating, and constipation.
How do you treat constipation and fecal incontinence?
For both constipation and fecal incontinence, treatment begins with a comprehensive diagnosis. Dr. Saenz uses a combination of tests, such as rectal exams, X-rays, and special functional tests such as anal rectal physiology in an attempt to find underlying causes that will dictate the appropriate course of treatment.
Lifestyle changes, such as nutrition therapy and exercise, as well as medications, are often involved in your individualized treatment. For example, treatment may include a suggested exercise regimen, a higher fiber intake, and laxatives.
In rare cases of chronic constipation and fecal incontinence, surgery may be an option to address an underlying cause, such as a blockage, anal fissure, or sphincter damage after childbirth.
Call to schedule an appointment today if you’re dealing with bowel-movement problems that are affecting your quality of life.