SALEM COMMUNITY HOSPITAL…New treatment for bowel control woes

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, more than 18 million Americans suffer from bowel control problems. As a result, they often struggle with everyday activities and are afraid to leave their homes.

“Loss of bowel control can be devastating and in many cases significantly disrupts a person’s daily life,” explained Michael Scolieri, M.D., board certified urologist. “Some people stop travelling, others withdraw socially or avoid family and friends for fear of having an accident.

“Many patients are too embarrassed or uncomfortable to talk about this condition with their physician. Bowel control problems, also known as fecal incontinence, can significantly impair a person’s quality of life. These problems are more common in women, and are not a normal part of aging. This condition can be caused by a variety of factors, including damage to the nerves or muscles in the rectum, such as during childbirth or due to pelvic health disorders.

“In the past, treatment for bowel control problems has focused primarily on dietary modification, fiber intake adjustments or medications,” he advised. “But there are many people who don’t respond to these conservative treatments. In other cases, more invasive surgical options are used to repair the sphincter muscles, but these approaches don’t help every patient.”

New Treatment Option: InterStim Therapy

Salem Community Hospital announces a new bowel control treatment option, InterStim Therapy, for those suffering with chronic fecal incontinence. “Until now, there have been limited treatment options for those with bowel control problems that don’t respond to conservative therapies,” Dr. Scolieri added. “InterStim Therapy for Bowel Control gives these individuals hope for living a more normal life. We are excited to be at the forefront in treating bowel control problems, by offering a new option for so many men and women who have been suffering in silence. We have been safely and successfully implanting the device through an identical procedure for urinary incontinence for almost 15 years.”

This minimally invasive treatment option, proven to improve or restore bowel control, was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), on March 14, 2011. However, before its FDA approval as a bowel incontinence therapy, the system has been a go-to treatment for urinary incontinence and overactive bladder since 1997, and was the world’s first sacral neuromodulation therapy used for urinary urge incontinence.

InterStim Therapy is used to treat both urinary control and bowel control in many countries, including the United States, Europe, Canada and Australia. To date, more than 100,000 people have received InterStim Therapy worldwide.

How It Works

“The InterStim Therapy for Bowel Control system uses an implantable, stopwatch-sized device that emits a continuous, mild electrical pulse through a wire to stimulate the sacral nerves, which strengthen the pelvic floor muscles and bowel and bladder control,” Dr. Scolieri continued. “As a result, the therapy significantly reduces bowel incontinence episodes for many people.”

InterStim Therapy is the only bowel control treatment option that allows patients and physicians to evaluate the probable success of the therapy through a test stimulation procedure before committing to long-term therapy.

“Before implanting the InterStim device, patients participate in a 3- or 14-day trial period and wear an external version of the device to see if nerve stimulation works for them,” he advised. “The 3-day trial is initiated during a simple office procedure where the electrode is placed through a small needle. If the nerve stimulation is successful over the course of the trial period, then a permanent device is implanted under the skin in the lower back. This implantation procedure typically takes 20 minutes in the operating room, is minimally invasive and is performed under a light anesthetic. The patient then can adjust the intensity of electrical pulses via a special remote-control.”

“InterStim Therapy for Bowel Control should be considered after a person has tried other treatments, which have not been successful and been found not to have reversible causes of fecal incontinence through a gastroenterological workup,” Dr. Scolieri concluded. “This new device is an innovative alternative for many people who have not benefited from other therapies. It is useful in patients of all ages and is a reversible option in that even after implantation, the treatment can be discontinued at any time by turning off or surgically removing the device.”

Michael Scolieri, M.D., is a board certified urologist affiliated with Salem Community Hospital’s medical staff. Appointments with Dr. Scolieri may be scheduled by calling his office in Salem at 330-337-1134, 2360 Southeast Boulevard; in Boardman at 7629 Market Street or in Alliance at 330-823-1112, 885 South Sawburg Avenue, Suite 105.