BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (KFSN) --Fecal incontinence is a medical condition where people lose control of their bowels. It affects anywhere from two to 20 million women. That number is so broad because it is believed that most women are too embarrassed to come forward and talk about it. Now a new non-surgical treatment for women may be the answer to getting their lives back.
Vacuuming and making the bed are small tasks that represent a big victory for Rhonda Green.
Green told Ivanhoe, "Any kind of activity that would cause me to strain in any way, I would have bowel leakage."
A surgery 10 years ago left Green unable to control her bowels. It was a problem that dominated every aspect of her life.
"I knew when I left the house, I had approximately 20 minutes," Green detailed. "I began to learn that I should pack an extra set of clothes."
Holly Richter, an urogynecologist at University of Alabama at Birmingham told Ivanhoe, "It's pretty rare when we cure this condition."
Dr. Richter placed Green in a study for a new, non-surgical treatment called the Eclipse System.
"The Eclipse System is a device that's placed into the vagina and the device has a backward directed balloon that reversibly closes off the rectal space," explained Richter. "It kind of fills that gap between behavioral therapy and going to more invasive therapies."
For Green, the relief was immediate.
"I've been given part of my life back," said Green. "It's nice to go out to dinner with a friend, and be able to sit through the whole dinner. I don't have to jump out of the shower to go to the bathroom."
And she doesn't have to put her life on hold anymore.
Pelvalon is the company that makes the Eclipse System. They say of the 61 women who completed their study, 96 percent of them thought the device was comfortable, and 86 percent saw dramatic improvement. One possible side-effect is pelvic cramping or discomfort, but Green says it's not nearly as uncomfortable as having anal bowel leakage.
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