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Ask Dr. Gott 1/10

Simple solution for fecal incontinence

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Posted: January 9, 2007 4:47 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2007 5:00 a.m.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I am an 83-year-old man. For some time, I have had an embarrassing lapse that I couldn't seem to control. No matter how carefully I cleaned myself after defecating, there would be a slight escape of feces soiling my underwear. Sometimes, I had to change and rinse my underwear as much as three times a day. It was most embarrassing to go around smelling like an old outhouse.
    Recently, I hit on a simple solution that seems to work. After cleaning with a damp cloth or a disposable moist wipe, I fold two sheets of toilet paper twice and insert the folded paper up close to the anus (not stuffed in). If there is any escaped feces, it is caught by the little folded toilet tissue. Most of the time there is no leakage.
    My guess is that the folded paper close to the anus may stimulate the anus to clamp a little tighter. Much of the time, I'm unaware of the paper, though sometimes I do feel it. However, it is a minor discomfort, especially since I no longer trail an odor of feces.
    DEAR READER: As I have written before, there are few medical problems as troublesome as fecal incontinence. I hope that you have been examined by a colorectal specialist. (If not, you should be.) But     I congratulate you in discovering a relatively simple way to control your leakage.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Constipation and Diarrhea." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

    DEAR DR. GOTT: I have enjoyed your column for years and have learned a lot, also. After reading the letter from the 69-year-old with the nail fungus, I just had to write. This same problem has been mine for several years, but it is not a fungus at all. Psoriatic arthritis is a rheumatoid-like arthritis associated with psoriasis of the skin and/or nails. Could this be the cause of this person's nail problem?     If so, the treatment is different, as the Vicks or fungal meds aren't effective. I'm not sure of the correct treatment. Any suggestions?
    DEAR READER: The treatment of toenail fungus is, of course, different from the therapy for psoriatic arthritis — and, in general, the two conditions are not difficult to diagnose. I have received some letters touting the effectiveness of using Vick's for psoriasis; this is not effective therapy for arthritis. Several treatment options are available, so consult with your physician to see which one is right for you.
    To give you related information, I am sending you a copy of my Health Report "Eczema and Psoriasis." Other readers who would like a copy should send a long, self-addressed, stamped envelope and $2 to Newsletter, PO Box 167, Wickliffe, OH 44092. Be sure to mention the title.

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