Doctor talks to patient in office

Bowel Health

The inability to control your bowels can be distressing and embarrassing – so much so that you may not want to tell your doctor about it. But don’t allow yourself to suffer in silence. Here at Providence, we have effective treatments that can help.  

We realize talking about bowel dysfunction is difficult. But our specialists know how to help you with sensitivity and understanding. We will put you at ease and work with you to make sure you get the help you need.

We carefully evaluate your condition to determine the cause of your symptoms. Then working with you, we decide how to address your condition. Our experienced team offers a full range of treatments, from conservative therapies to advanced surgical procedures. We can improve your bowel function so you can resume your normal activities and get back to living life to the fullest. 

There are two main bowel disorders, constipation and fecal incontinence. 

Conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease often affect how your bowels function. But bowel disorders may also be linked to problems with the muscles of your pelvic floor. 

Treatment for your bowel disorder depends on its cause and how it’s affecting you. Whenever possible, we offer nonsurgical therapies. These might include: 

  • Anal bulking, a procedure that involves injecting a bulking agent into your anal canal to narrow it and improve sphincter control 
  • Dietary changes, such as eating fiber
  • Drinking more fluids 
  • Medications to help control diarrhea or constipation 
  • Physical therapy to help strengthen or relax pelvic floor muscles  

In some cases, surgery may be your best treatment option. Sphincteroplasty and sacral neuromodulation are surgeries commonly performed to help control fecal incontinence. 

If we determine surgery is right for you, we’ll work with you to decide which type is most appropriate in your case.  


Sphincteroplasty, also known as anal muscle surgery, repairs damage to your anal muscles that may have occurred as a result of childbirth or other causes.

The surgery involves cutting the muscles that control the release of stool at the anus, then overlapping the ends and reattaching them. This creates a stronger ring of muscles that results in better sphincter control.   

Often, we can do sphincteroplasty on an outpatient basis.  

Sacral neuromodulation  

Sacral neuromodulation treats fecal incontinence with a device sometimes called a pacemaker for your bowels. The device stimulates your sacral nerves and may improve how your pelvic floor muscles and anal sphincter function.

Treatment takes place in two steps. First, we place thin wires containing electrodes under your skin near your tailbone, in the area of your sacral nerves. We then give you a stimulating device that is placed at your waist. Your doctor will work with you to adjust the simulation and try to make sure the device meets your needs.

For about two weeks, you monitor your symptoms to see if the treatment helps you. If you have at least a 50 percent improvement, we proceed to step two. During this phase of treatment, we implant the stimulating device under your skin. You can then adjust it yourself with a remote control.