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Article: Bowel Incontinence

Bowel Incontinence - Novamed (Europe) ltd

Bowel Incontinence

This blog post is about bowel incontinence, what causes it, how to prevent it and how to manage it. Bowel incontinence is the accidental discharge of faeces from the rectum through the anus because your muscles are not working properly or there's a problem with your nerves. This can happen during coughing or sneezing, when pushing hard on the toilet, or if you've had surgery for anorectal disorders.

The article will discuss what causes bowel incontinence in more detail as well as preventing and managing it. Hopefully, it will help you understand that bowel incontinence can happen to anyone, and it doesn't have to be a life-long problem.

Bowel incontinence is one of the most common reasons people visit their GP. Other conditions like constipation, diarrhoea or abdominal pain can cause similar symptoms, so talking over your symptoms with your doctor might help.

It's impossible to prevent bowel incontinence, but some things can help:

First, recognise the cause of your symptoms and then try to find an effective treatment before you need surgical intervention.

Being physically active can improve bowel movements, but it can also increase the risk of falling in older adults. If you're older and fall regularly, this can cause you to feel anxious about being active. That anxiety can then make your bowel incontinence worse, making it harder to exercise or go out for long walks.

If you have bowel incontinence (or other problems with your bowels), it helps to review the way you eat and drink. For example:

Avoid foods that can lead to constipation, such as a high-fibre diet and large amounts of dairy products.

Avoid drinks that are high in caffeine (such as tea, coffee, cola or energy drinks) because they can irritate the bladder and lead to incontinence. Water is always a good choice.

Try to avoid things like beans, nuts and fish, which can delay defaecation and can cause pain when passing stools. If these foods are part of your usual diet, switching to low-fibre foods or drinking lots of water can help.

Talk to your GP if you find changes in your bowel movements are making your incontinence worse or if you have any other physical problems related to the bowels.

Some problems caused by bowel incontinence are not usually serious, like occasional excessive sweating or passing wind. If you're told you have a medical problem that's causing your incontinence, there may be some treatments that can help - such as advice and medicines. If your symptoms do not improve after trying these things, it may be necessary to get surgery.

Other people find they're very limited in what they can do or that walking and doing everyday tasks is a problem because of their incontinence.

It's very important to talk to your GP if:

your symptoms don't improve - for example, after a few weeks of treatment, you're still having problems with your bowel movements, or the way you feel about doing certain things has changed. This may be because this problem has caused other problems in your life. For example, if your bowel incontinence causes you to have depression, it's possible that depression may also make your symptoms worse.

you have stomach pain or bloating, or you feel like passing wind all the time

you have severe constipation for days at a time

You're passing blood with your stools, or you're losing weight unexpectedly. These can be signs of a more serious problem with your bowels. If there's no improvement after you've tried simple treatments for 3-4 weeks, see your GP to talk about getting further help.

If you have bowel incontinence and want to look into treatment options that are available, you can do a quick online search for 'bowel incontinence surgery'. However, make sure you talk to a doctor about what is available in your region before making any decisions about treatment options.

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