devastating problem. There can be few things more embarrassing than a
bowel accident that other people notice, and few conditions that create
so much anxiety.
Faecal incontinence affects men and women of all ages. Many people go
untreated because they are too embarrassed to ask for help. This is a
pity as for many people there are effective treatments that can help,
or even cure, the problem. However, this has long been a neglected
subject, and for some problems we do not yet have completely effective
Try not to feel embarrassed about asking for help. Doctors and nurses
who have a special interest in helping people with bowel problems will
try to explain things, and many see literally hundreds of other people
with similar conditions.
Sometimes damage to the muscles of the ***sphincter is accidentally
caused during childbirth, especially if forceps were needed to help the
baby to be born. Sometimes exercises will help regain the function of
damaged muscles. If the damage to the muscles is extensive, an
operation may be needed to repair them.
Constipation without bowel leakage is a subject in its own right and
there is not space to deal with it here. Mild constipation will often
respond to changes in diet, such as adding more fibre and fluids, or to
gentle medication such as Fybogel, Movicol or Regulan and to an
increase in exercise. Severe constipation needs professional advice.
You can read more about constipation here.
See inflammatory bowel disease below.
An ileo-***pouch operation may be done for people who need the large
bowel removed because of disease. A few people have trouble with
leakage from the*** after this operation.
Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
IBD includes ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and other less common
diseases involving inflammation of the lining of the bowel wall.
Diarrhoea is often associated with IBD, especially in the acute phase.
This can cause tremendous urgency and accidents from the bowel if the
toilet is not reached in time. Further information is available from
the National Association for Colitis & Crohn's Disease.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
IBS is a common bowel problem, affecting up to one in five of the
population. Most commonly it causes abdominal discomfort, with an
alteration in bowel habit (diarrhoea or constipation, or alternating
between constipation and diarrhoea). People with diarrhoea associated
with IBS may have difficulty in getting to the toilet in time, or
difficulty controlling wind. There is not one simple treatment for IBS,
but some medications, diets or complimentary therapies are helpful for
some people. Further information is available in the UK from the IBS
Network and in the USA from the International Foundation for Functional
Spinal Cord Injury
Bowel control is a major concern for many people after a spinal cord
injury. There are often problems both with emptying the bowel and with
control. Detailed advice is available on a site we have developed for
the Spinal Injuries Association.
See inflammatory bowel disease above.
Just letting you know