How a small but powerful device is giving patients with fecal incontinence more freedom

1 in 6 people have fecal incontinence, with it being the most common among women between the ages of 50 and 60. But many patients hide their condition from loved ones and even their doctors. However, new technology is giving people the freedom to live a normal life, like patient, Judy Burkett.

"I was so embarrassed, of course, to have this problem. I didn't even feel human to be honest. I just didn't even feel.... human. But, yeah...."

About three years ago, Judy started isolating herself from the outside world.

She says, "It got so bad that I was not able to go out and eat meals or do things with my friends. I stayed in the apartment. I was having to change four or five times a day."

Judy realized she could no longer handle the struggles on her own and went to her doctor. This is where she discovered that she has a condition called, fecal incontinence.

"It is basically the inability to control your bowel movements. Where patients have basically, in simple words, accidents," says Sanford Health Physician, Dr. Bhargav Mistry.

But most patients don't realize when they have had an accident. This is because the muscles in the pelvis become weak. However, thanks to technology, a simple device is giving patients the comfort they're seeking.

"Basically this is a little wire and the wire runs under the skin and it goes on the side of your buttox or the gluteal area and then it is connected to one of these two devices and this is placed under the skin," says Dr. Mistry.

Even though the device is surgically implanted, patients have full control over it.

Dr. Misty says, "The beauty of this is that after we are done, we can place a little remote control device over the skin and we can change the programming. We can make it stronger, we can make it weaker, we can change the comfort programming to get the best benefit."

And Judy swears by the technology. She says, "you do not have to live with this problem. You can change it. All you need to do is get your courage up and go to your doctor and tell her and the minute you tell her and you get told about this device, your life is going to get better every single day and it's still continually for me."

If fecal incontinence is a condition you may be facing, Sanford is hosting an informational seminar on Tuesday, November 19th. The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. For more information on the seminar, like location, call 701-234-6715.