​Treating bowel dysfunction

Bowel incontinence can be a debilitating condition that can affect your lifestyle, self-esteem and work life. But you don't have to suffer in silence. At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we know that bowel incontinence can interfere with your daily life and be hard to talk about with your doctor.

Our Women’s Health experts can help you get advanced, effective treatment, so you can get back to doing what you enjoy. In addition to general and surgical gynecologists, your care team may include pelvic floor specialists at The Christ Hospital Pelvic Floor Center.

Take a proactive role in your treatment by being honest with your doctor about the symptoms you have, the treatments you’ve tried and how bowel incontinence is impacting your life.

For some women, simple treatments can improve symptoms, such as:

  • Developing regular bowel movements

  • Exercising to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles

  • Making changes to your diet

  • Using over-the-counter medicines

  • Wearing absorbent pads

Medical treatment

Depending on the cause of your bowel incontinence, medical treatments for bowel incontinence may include:

  • Biofeedback—behavioral therapy used to treat people with bowel dysfunction

  • Bulking agent—fiber supplements that absorb water from waste in the bowel making the stool firmer and reducing bowel leakage

  • Manual stool impaction—treatment that removes a large, hard stool stuck in the rectum

  • Medications—such as laxatives or stool softeners to help improve diarrhea and constipation

  • Nerve stimulation—electrical stimulation to help eliminate leakage


At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we know that you want to get back to enjoying the things that matter most in life. If medicine, lifestyle changes and other non-invasive treatments don't ease your symptoms, we offer advanced treatment options.

Surgical treatments that may be recommended for bowel incontinence include:

  • Hemorrhoid removal—to remove swollen and distended veins in the rectum or anus

  • Prolapse rectum surgery—a procedure to repair the rectum when it protrudes from the anus

  • Sphincter replacement—a procedure to replace a damaged anal sphincter

  • Sphincteroplasty—a procedure to repair a damaged or weakened anal sphincter 

  • Colostomy (last resort)—procedure that diverts stool through an opening in the abdomen

Confusion about surgery can create fear and anxiety that sometimes delays treatment. We specialize in minimally invasive techniques that make it possible for women to recover faster, with less pain and fewer complications—so you get home sooner.

Leading-edge facilities

At The Christ Hospital Health Network, we have an innovative Women’s Surgery Center designed specifically for women. Our Center features spacious operating rooms, the da Vinci surgical system for robotic-assisted gynecologic surgery, and telemedicine technology for real-time, remote consultations with pathologists.

At our Pelvic Floor Center—one of only a few centers of its kind in the U.S.– specialists called urogynecologists care for women with bowel incontinence and other pelvic floor disorders.

Find a Women’s Health doctor who specializes in bowel dysfunction