Anal incontinence

Adresse

Switzerland

Christian Toso
Professor
Christian Toso
Head of Division

Anal incontinence is defined as the involuntary loss of gas or stool . It has important psychological and social consequences.

Due to the complexity of the system regulating defecation, the causes of anal incontinence are multiple : impaired stool quality (for example diarrhea or severe constipation), rectal capacity disorder (following a radiotherapy or in case of inflammatory bowel diseases, for example) or anatomical or functional impairment of the sphincter apparatus (for example due to obstetric trauma after difficult childbirth, surgery, neurological disorder).

The diagnosis of anal incontinence is based mainly on the history and complete clinical examination (proctological, neurological and gynecological). Manometry makes it possible to measure the anal pressures, and an endo -anal ultrasound is used to check the anatomical integrity of the sphincter apparatus.

INFO +  Rectal echo-endoscopy (FR)

Treatment for anal incontinence depends on its cause

Treatment depends on the cause of anal incontinence  and may include drugs regulating the transit, perineal physiotherapy, or the reconstruction of the sphincter apparatus (sphincteroplasty). In case of decreased sphincter tone or in case of a neurological deficit, sacral neurostimulation, which consists in implanting a device for stimulating the sphincter apparatus, can be proposed. Sometimes, in case of untreatable incontinence and for reasons of comfort, a permanent ostomy may be necessary.

Manometry
×
Exploration of the sensitivity of the rectum using a very fine probe, fitted with an inflatable balloon at its end, introduced into the anus.
Anal incontinence
×
is defined as the involuntary loss of gas or stool
Ostomy
×
The surgical connection of a segment of the digestive tract to the skin outside its natural location.
INFO +  Ostomy
Last update : 04/01/2022