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Incontinence generally refers to the loss of urinary or bowel control. The inability to control bladder function (urinary incontinence) or rectal function (fecal incontinence) can affect people of all ages, but it is more common in older adults. Incontinence can be difficult to confront and discuss. But it’s a common condition, and the good news is it can usually be treated successfully.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence – the involuntary loss of urine – is a common and often embarrassing problem that affects millions of Americans. Women are affected twice as often as men, with approximately one of every four women experiencing some degree of incontinence in their lifetime.

Causes of urinary incontinence include:

Fecal Incontinence

Fecal (or bowel) incontinence – the inability to control the bowels – affects approximately one in 12 Americans and one in 10 senior citizens. It is more common in women and older adults but is not a normal part of aging.

Causes of fecal incontinence include:

Learn more about incontinence at our Health Encyclopedia.

We Can Help with Incontinence

The skilled physicians at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center specialize in diagnosing and treating all forms of incontinence. We offer many treatment options, beginning with the least invasive and including the most advanced. These include:

Treatments for Urinary Incontinence

  • Behavioral techniques, such as bladder training and fluid and diet management
  • Pelvic exercises to strengthen pelvic floor muscles
  • Medication
  • Medical devices, such as urethral inserts and pessaries to prevent leakage
  • Interventional treatments, such as bulking agents, botulinum toxin (Botox) injections into the bladder muscles and neuromodulation therapy
  • Surgery

Botox has recently been approved by the FDA for use in people with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury whose conditions result in bladder overactivity. By paralyzing the muscular lining of the bladder, the drug decreases the urgency and frequency of urination.

Treatments for Fecal Incontinence

Our Physicians

Physicians with special training in treating incontinence at Illinois Masonic Medical Center include:

  • Urologists, who specialize in conditions of the male and female urinary tract and the male reproductive organs
  • Urogynecologists, who specialize in conditions of the reproductive system and lower urinary tract in women
  • Colorectal surgeons, who specialize in conditions of the colon, rectum and anus and treat both men and women
  • Gastroenterologists, who specialize in conditions related to the gastrointestinal tract and treat both men and women

Contact Us

If incontinence is interfering with your life, let us help you find a physician and a solution that is right for you. Call us today for a consultation: 1.800.3.ADVOCATE (1.800.323.8622). You can also find a physician and request an appointment online.

Physicians: To refer a patient, call 773.296.7300.

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