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Researchers say uncontrollable bowels are underreported

Category: Organ Specific Testing

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that 18 million Americans can't control their bowels. This embarrassing condition could result from complications from numerous diseases, some of which can be detected with blood tests, such as diabetes.

However, colorectal experts from Loyola University suspect that far more than 18 million people in the U.S. are finding it difficult to control their bowels.

"Fecal incontinence isn't something that people talk about, yet we know from our practice that it is extremely common," said Dana Hayden, a colorectal surgeon at Loyola University Health System. "The good news is there are options to manage this condition."

The Food and Drug Administration signed off on an implantable treatment device developed by Loyola researchers that works like a pacemaker to resuscitate damaged, dysfunctional bowel-controlling nerves.

The NIH reports that the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDKD), an organization that studies conditions that are detectable with blood tests, has also focused efforts on treating incontinence. The NIDDKD strives to develop a method to replace damaged sphincter muscles with tissue taken from other areas of the patient's body.

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