Weight Loss Surgery and Incontinence: What You Should Know

Losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution in the U.S., and for good reason: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than a third of adults in the U.S. are clinically obese, and another third are overweight. Thanks to increased awareness of the effects of obesity and weight gain, many Americans are very aware that those extra pounds can substantially increase their risk for many serious disease and medical conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and stroke – even some types of cancer.

During the past decade, more and more people have turned to weight-loss surgery as a way to lose weight and, hopefully, keep it off. But while weight loss surgery can help reduce the risks of many weight-related diseases and conditions, it can also have one unpleasant side effect: fecal incontinence.

Weight loss surgery often results in changes in the way food is digested and absorbed, and most patients are told to expect the possibility of diarrhea or loose bowel movements. But studies are beginning to indicate that more people than previously thought may be experiencing fecal incontinence following surgery. That’s because the watery fecal matter that can occur as a result of bariatric surgery is more likely to leak out. In addition to changes in the way food is absorbed in the bowel, the normal flora healthy bacteria that live in the colon and promote good digestion can also be significantly altered by bariatric surgery, contributing to the formation of loose, watery bowels.

So what can you do if weight-loss surgery is in your plans for 2015? Understanding the risk of fecal incontinence following bariatric surgery is important so you can weigh the pros and cons of the surgery. And if you’ve already had weight-loss surgery and you’re experiencing symptoms of incontinence, it’s also important to know you’re not alone. Many people suffer from fecal incontinence, and there are plenty of ways to help you cope. The first step is to schedule an evaluation. Call us today at (800) 771-1953 and get the help and the answers you need to live more confidently.