Carolyn Park says "I was embarrassed to say anything to my doctor."
It can be a difficult health problem to talk about so a lot of people just suffer in silence.
Carolyn Park says "It began about 4 or five years ago slowly coming on a little bit dribble here and there and got so bad."
So bad that Carolyn had to do something about it. She's among 18 million Americans who suffer from bowel incontinence.
Dr. Shauna Lorenzo says "It's the patient who decides life like this is not life at all."
Carolyn ended up visiting Dr. Shauna Lorenzo's office where she tried the latest option when it comes to treating fecal incontinence. The InterStim Therapy is now available at Parkridge Medical Center.
Dr. Shauna Lorenzo says "It's implanted where the nerve comes out close to rectum and bladder and you test drive it for 10-14 days where the patient has complete control."
Carolyn Park says "We did the trial for two weeks where I controlled it and it was working."
After the trial period was successful, Dr. Lorenzo says they moved ahead with the implantable device.
Dr. Shauna Lorenzo says "The first procedure is the tiny incision, most people use pain medication for two to three days."
Dr. Shauna Lorenzo says "Then the second operation, the wires already implanted we just connect it to this."
Dr. Lorenzo says most patients heal in about two weeks, but some of them can feel pain at the site where the device was implanted.
Before your problem gets to this point where surgery is necessary.. Doctors will first try other options... Starting with dietary modifications, with a big emphasis on fiber... Then there is over the counter medication and physical therapy.
Carolyn's situation had gotten so bad, she had to always carry a change of clothes and make sure a bathroom was close by. But now she says her life is back to normal.
Carolyn Park says "I just feel good, we plan trips, do volunteer work and sometimes it's a while before you have a bathroom break."
But that's okay, Carolyn feels a lot more secure and confident.