Fecal Incontinence After Hemorrhoid Surgery

Hemorrhoids aren’t usually a serious condition in medical terms, but they can be quite painful and adversely affect your daily life as you attempt to cope. About 5% of Americans experience hemorrhoids, with the percentage climbing with age. One in two people can expect to be affected after the age of 50.

For some, hemorrhoid issues are serious enough to require surgical correction, and an occasional side effect of the procedure is fecal incontinence, which is an inability to control bowel movements. In this blog, the health specialists at Southeast Urogyn in Jackson, Mississippi, explain what hemorrhoids are, why fecal incontinence can occur after hemorrhoid surgery, and the treatment options that are available.

Understanding hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids are closely related to varicose veins, swollen blood vessels that can sometimes cause problems, such as discomfort and pain. The veins in question here can develop inside the rectum, which are called internal hemorrhoids, or under the skin near the anus, which are called external hemorrhoids. Each type has its own symptoms. 

Internal hemorrhoids

Hemorrhoids that form inside the rectum may never cause issues. You can have these without discomfort, pain, or other symptoms. However, straining through bowel movements, such as when you’re constipated, can cause painless bleeding or you may push a swollen vein out of the anal opening, called a protruding or prolapsed hemorrhoid. 

External hemorrhoids

These tend to be more symptomatic. You may feel itchiness or irritation around your anus. They may be more painful, and you may experience swelling around the anus. Minor bleeding is also common.

External hemorrhoids are prone to a clot formation called a thrombus. When these form, you may experience severe pain as well as inflammation and swelling. A hard lump may form in the area. 

Fecal incontinence after hemorrhoid surgery

Most people with hemorrhoids can be treated with conservative procedures. Surgery is necessary only in rare cases where hemorrhoids recur often or when they’re particularly severe. 

The cause of fecal incontinence

Fecal incontinence is an occasional side effect of hemorrhoid surgery. As mentioned earlier, fecal incontinence is an inability to control bowel movements. This condition can occur if the muscles of the anal sphincter are stretched too much or cut during surgery.

In most cases, fecal incontinence resolves during the normal recovery period, which can last as long as six weeks. As your body heals, the incontinence should go away.

Treating fecal incontinence

If fecal incontinence doesn’t stop or gets more severe, the providers at Southeast Urogyn can help. They have access to a range of treatment options, both surgical and nonsurgical.

Nonsurgical options include dietary changes to promote healthy bowel movements, physiotherapy to strengthen the anal sphincter and pelvic floor muscles, and medications to alter the consistency of bowel movements for easy retention and controlled evacuation. Electronic stimulation and biofeedback techniques can be useful as well.

There are also surgical approaches that can address fecal incontinence depending on the underlying cause of the problem and its severity.

If you have fecal incontinence, we can help you get relief. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone with Southeast Urogyn today.

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