Among the list of embarrassing bodily functions, bowel leakage is right up there with passing gas and uncontrollable loud burps. Many aging individuals suffer with bowel incontinence, but don’t give up or stop socializing. Bowel leakage: gaining control is possible.
Symptoms Of Bowel Leakage
Loss of bowel control can range from sometimes leaking a small amount of stool when passing gas to not being able to control your bowel movements (total loss of control) and not being able to make it to the bathroom in time.
You might see fecal matter in your underwear after a bowel movement or pass some while doing physical activity. No matter how and when it happens, it’s not normal. A lot of people don’t want to tell their primary care doctor, but it’s important to share your issues and not be embarrassed. It is the only path to getting treatment and gaining control.
Some Typical Causes of Bowel Incontinence
The most common cause of bowel incontinence is damage to the muscles near the anus. The rectum, anus, pelvic muscles, and nervous system must all work together to control your bowels.
Some other causes and risk factors include the following:
- Being older than 65 and female
- Chronic constipation
- After a stroke
- Injury to the anal area like after vaginal childbirth
- Severe hemorrhoids
- Gynecological, prostate or rectal surgery
- Nerve damage from diabetes, spinal cord injuries, MS
Treating Bowel Leakage
Treating bowel leakage can be as simple as changing your diet. Avoid foods that increase your risk of bowel incontinence like alcohol and caffeine, prunes and some fruit juices, spicy foods, dairy products, beans, smoked meats, and artificial sweeteners.
Then begin to eat more bananas, apple sauce, peanut butter, pasta, potatoes, and cheese. These will slow down and thicken stool.
Avoid using over-the-counter antidiarrheal medications without talking to Colorectal Surgical Associates. Your physician will prescribe those along with fiber supplements.
Through Bowel Training
Try developing a routine. One such solution is to take a daily enema to clean out your bowels and avoid leakage. It is important to speak to Colorectal Surgical Associates before doing this.
A therapist can teach you exercises to strengthen the muscles around the anus.
Having surgery is a last resort for bowel leakage if other methods have failed to produce results, and there are several surgical options.
Be upfront with your physician about your bowel incontinence. It may be easier to control than you think.