Functional Incontinence

bathroom functional incontinence

Keeping a bathroom free of trip hazards will help a person with functional incontinence.

Functional incontinence is urinary or fecal leakage that occurs when the urinary or fecal body systems, respectively, are physiologically working fine. Functional incontinence is the result of mobility challenges with getting to the bathroom and/or dexterity challenges with removing clothing in a reasonable amount of time.Continue reading

Bowel Incontinence or Accidental Bowel Leakage (ABL)

bowel incontinence occurs in the digestive system

Bowel incontinence or ABL occurs when stool or gas unexpectedly leaks from your rectum.

Bowel incontinence, which may also be referred to as fecal incontinence, anal incontinence or Accidental Bowel Leakage (ABL), is when stool or gas unexpectedly leaks from your rectum. Sometimes you feel the urge to have a bowel movement, but can’t reach a bathroom in time.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health’s Bowel Control Awareness Campaign reports that more than 18 million Americans have bowel incontinence. As with urinary incontinence, bowel incontinence affects people of all ages, races, and both sexes. However, it is more common in women than in men, and it affects the elderly more often than younger adults (although it is not a normal part of aging).Continue reading

Sacral Nerve Stimulation for Incontinence

sacral nerve stimulation

Sacral nerve stimulation involves the placement of an implant to stimulate the sacral nerve.

Sacral nerve stimulation (SNS), also called sacral neuromodulation, involves surgical implantation of a device that sends a low-voltage electrical current to the sacral nerve. The sacral nerve is located at the base of the spine that affects the bladder, bowel, and pelvic floor. The implant stimulates the sacral nerve and to alleviate fecal and/or urinary incontinence.  A hand-held device is used to stop the contraction of your sphincter muscles when you need to empty your bowels.Continue reading

Neurogenic Bowel

human digestive system

A neurogenic bowel includes both the small and large intestine.

A neurogenic bowel is when your bowel malfunctions (it does not do what it is supposed to do) because of a disease or an injury to the nervous system. The bowel includes both the small and large intestine (also called the colon).Continue reading

Antidiarrheal Medications and Laxatives

antidiarrheal medications laxatives for bowel problems

Problems in the bowel can lead to the need for antidiarrheal medications and laxatives.

Antidiarrheal medications and laxatives can be used either to either bulk up stool (in the case of diarrhea) or soften stool (in the case of constipation).  Diarrhea may cause a person to have bowel incontinence and constipation may cause a person to have overflow diarrhea and bowel incontinence.

NOTE:  Medications and laxatives can be used to treat a variety of different types of bowel incontinence but should always be discussed first with a doctor or medical professional.

Antidiarrheal medications and laxatives are less invasive than surgery and may be tried as a first- line of treatment.  They can be stopped at any time if the desired results are not achieved or of the side-effects are undesirable.Continue reading

Fiber Therapy for Bowel Incontinence

granola fiber therapy

Fiber therapy includes adding whole grains and fresh fruits to your diet.

Fiber absorbs liquids in the digestive system, thereby bulking up fecal matter. It is recommended that women under 50 consume 25 grams of fiber per day. A woman over 50 years of age should consume 21 grams per day. Men younger under 50 are recommended to get 38 grams per day. Men over 50 should get 30 grams per day in his diet. The average American, however, only has about 15 grams of fiber per day in his or her diet. And what is fiber therapy?  Fiber therapy is simply increasing your fiber intake gradually until you reach the recommended daily intake for your age.

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Dietary Changes for Managing Bowel Incontinence

eliminating alcohol as part of dietary changes

Alcohol may be part of some dietary changes needed to manage bowel incontinence symptoms.

Foods that commonly contribute to diarrhea and bowel incontinence are chocolate, dairy products, alcohol, and caffeine. Try eating less of these foods to see if it improves the consistency of your bowel movements. In addition to adding  fiber to your diet, other dietary changes may include undergoing an elimination diet to see if certain foods trigger incontinence of stool.Continue reading

Bowel Retraining

fiber rich diet for bowel retraining

Adding fiber and fluids to your diet is the first step in a bowel retraining treatment plan.

Bowel retraining is about having consistent or regular bowel movements.  Having regular bowel movements is crucial to obtaining fecal continence and restoring control over your bowels.  Continue reading

Artificial Sphincter Surgery for Bowel Incontinence

external sphincter muscle squeezing

This shows the external sphincter muscle properly squeezing and keeping fecal matter inside until he proper time.

Everyone has a pelvic floor: it is a hammock of muscles that lies in your pelvis, supporting your internal organs in that area (bowel, bladder, and – in women – the uterus) and keeping them in the correct place. In your pelvic floor are a few muscles that are called “sphincters”.  There is an internal and external sphincter surrounding the anus. These anal sphincter muscles naturally contract around the rectum and keep the fecal matter inside your body until you relax the sphincters at a socially-acceptable time (generally when you’re using a toilet).  As the urge to defecate increases, you can contract (or squeeze) your sphincters to gain more control.  When you cannot control these sphincter muscles, bowel incontinence (also called accidental bowel leakage or fecal incontinence) may happen.

Surgery to implant an artificial sphincter involves placing an inflatable sphincter around the anus. A pump (placed inside the body in the labia or scrotum) is used to deflate the device, allowing fecal matter to pass through at the appropriate time. The device automatically refills after ten minutes, once again closing off the rectum.Continue reading

Clostridium difficile and Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea

clostridium difficile

A Clostridium difficile infection can cause sudden bowel incontinence.

Bowel incontinence and diarrhea are commonly found in critical care areas of hospitals and long-term care settings. Diarrhea and bowel incontinence are major contamination risks in medical and care facilities. About 10-15% of all hospital patients develop antibiotic associated diarrhea – also called nosocomial diarrhea. This is diarrhea that happens when antibiotic medicine that is being used to stop or prevent an infection in a patient (examples: penicillins, cephalosporins, clindamycin, flouroquinolones) also kills good bacteria in their intestines that usually keeps bad bacteria under control. When the good bacteria is killed, it allows strong, antibiotic-resistant bad bacteria, which the patient may come in contact with in a hospital or long-term care facility, to multiply and grow out of control. This causes antibiotic associated diarrhea. Some antibiotic associated diarrhea is caused by a seriously bad bacteria called Clostridium difficile.Continue reading