I'm not going to lie to you the way the author of a kitschy children's book might lie to you — not everyone poops. Really wealthy people, for instance, don't poop. Neither do starfish. Or hummingbirds, bless their fluttering little hearts. Nor do flowers poop. Nevertheless, we all need to talk about pooping way more often than we do, otherwise this man will soon have a monopoly on discussing bowel movements on late-night infomercials that you watch with a beguiling sense of fascination with the things people will do to earn a living.
According to colorectal surgeons at Loyola University Health System, fecal incontinence is one of those touchy medical conditions that people tend to underreport because poop is embarrassing. The National Institute of Health estimates that about 18 million Americans suffer from fecal incontinence, a condition that tends to affect older adults, and women more often than men. Loyola doctors, however, believe that the number is much higher because no one wants to go to a doctor and say, "So, I tend to shit my pants. What do you have for that, Doc, hmm? Because my dignity has been all used up on trying to eyeball blame other people for farting in elevators." The condition can be caused by a whole bunch of corporeal traumas, including, explains ScienceDaily, "damage to the pelvic nerves or muscles from trauma such as childbirth, and anal or rectal surgery; diseases like diabetes; or complications from radiation."
People really ought to speak up at the doctor's office, though, because Loyola offers a new procedure to treat fecal incontinence called sacral nerve stimulation, which involves having a "pacemaker-like device" implanted in order to stimulate the nerves that control bowel function. Don't squirm! Bowels are part of the beautiful mess of tissue that is the human body, and it's really important that we all make sure they're ship-shape all the time. Ship-shape bowels make for a brighter future.
Fecal Incontinence Is Highly Underreported [ScienceDaily]
Image via SFerdon/Shutterstock.