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Home » Bladder and bowel » Finding freedom from faecal incontinence through innovative implant

Linda Pepper


My incontinence journey started 38 years ago. I got diarrhoea occasionally, possibly because of a traumatic delivery giving birth. After several referrals, I received life-changing sacral nerve stimulation treatment.

Seven years ago, after a hysterectomy, I had adhesions, and I started to suffer faecal incontinence. Some days, I couldn’t even hold on for the 10-minute drive to work.

Daily life with faecal incontinence

Normal daily activities like shopping and walking caused me to have problems, and I would poo myself so badly that it would seep out of the side of my underwear. I would carry a bag with wet wipes and spare clothing, just in case. 

I’m a runner, and I love running, but this became increasingly difficult as accidents happened more often without any warning. I found it devastating.

The whole thing has been an amazing
success and has been life-changing.

Diagnosis journey with multiple referrals

The final straw came on holiday. Walking back to the hotel after a meal, it happened, and it was everywhere. I had no control. Back at the hotel, I felt broken. After that, I bought several pairs of special pants with charcoal lining and incontinence pull-ups to reduce the risk of leaking through my clothing.

My doctor referred me to bowel consultants, a gastroenterologist and a nutritionist. I had X-rays, colonoscopies, endoscopies and other tests. I felt abandoned when the doctors told me I didn’t have cancer and required no further action. I still had the same problems but nowhere to go.

Sacral nerve stimulation implant

By chance, at my local park run, I met a woman who had experienced similar problems. She underwent a new treatment called a sacral nerve stimulation by Mr Michael Powar, a Consultant Surgeon at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge. After almost three years, I was referred to him.

I was so happy when he said he could help me, but I was also anxious about the procedure. Following a successful two-week trial, I was fitted with a permanent device. The whole thing has been an amazing success and has been life-changing.

I feel frustrated that it took so long to get the help I needed, but I hope others can be helped sooner by raising awareness.

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