Once your doctor identifies the cause of your bowel control problem, you can discuss the best treatment for you. The type of treatment depends on the cause and severity of the problem.
Many women find that dietary fiber helps them to keep bowel control problems, both fecal incontinence and constipation in check. Talk with your doctor before starting an over the counter fiber supplement. There are several forms of supplements. And, a rapid increase in the amount of fiber in your diet can cause bloating and discomfort, so be sure to slowly increase your fiber to avoid this. Also, it is important to drink enough water, especially when using fiber, to help keep the stools soft.
In addition, specialized physical therapists can perform biofeedback to improve the pelvic muscle strength, tone and endurance. In the difficult cases of pelvic muscle spasm, working with a trained physical therapist may yield better results. See your doctor for a referral.
For both kinds of bowel control problems—fecal incontinence and constipation—the following treatment option conservative (non-surgical) options:
Original publication date: May 2008; Content Update: November 2014