PANAMA CITY, Fla. - Fecal incontinence is a problem many find embarrassing to admit.
However, being honest with your doctors can lead to a more fulfilling life.
News 13's Alex Thorson has this weeks Health Desk report, sponsored by Bay Medical Sacred Heart.
It's the inability to control your bowels. Dr. Shilpa Reddy said people aren't comfortable talking about it.
As we get older, the connection between our nerves, brain and bowels can weaken.
"When people don't have that muscle working properly, they're not able to communicate from their brain to the bowel properly," Reddy said.
Thus, leading to fecal incontinence.
She said if you have any problems with your bowels, if you have diarrhea, constipation, or aren't able to get to the bathroom in time, you should speak with your primary care providers.
She said it's most common in women over 50.
"People who have had multiple children [have] affected their anal rectal muscles and weakened them," Reddy said.
However, it does also happen in men, and avoiding the issue is not the answer.
"I know for many of these people it really affects their life," she said.
Over-the-counter medications can help.
If they don't, a series of procedures, involving a series of small electrical pulses to this nerve, can help mend the disconnect.
"For all the cases that I've done so far, I've seen significant improvement," she said.
If you recognize these symptoms, Dr. Reddy recommends speaking with your primary physicians.
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