Dealing with bowel incontinence

by Marion
(Canada)

Firstly, travel is just not part of my life anymore at all.


Even when going to a mall, I must first know where the washrooms are located and if it's some distance away I have to know where I can stop quickly along the route.

I never have more than 2 cups of tea or coffee and nothing to eat prior to leaving the house. I ALWAYS carry extra panties and kleenex.

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Jan 30, 2012
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Thank you for this valuable contribution
by: Mary (Editor)

Dear Marion,

Living with bowel incontinence can be very difficult as it is constantly present and in the back of your mind no matter where you are or what you are doing. It can dramatically reduce quality of life as you have said - travel becomes difficult or impossible

It can lead to low self-esteem, over-anxiety and, in extreme circumstances social isolation and loneliness. People with fecal incontinence find it difficult to discuss this, even with family or friends even though it is a medical problem, like any other, and nothing to be ashamed of. The taboo can be so bad that people often cannot even bring themselves to seek medical help. In addition, doctors sometimes misunderstand the problem and treat the sufferer for bowel problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The result is that most people think it is a much rarer than it actually is.

It is not a problem exclusive to aging (even though it does effect more older people) and can be caused by nerve damage resulting from a fall at any age. It can also be caused by complications during childbirth that result in damage to the sphincter muscle or pelvic floor muscles that can result in the bladder and rectum protruding into the vagina. At one time episiotomies were routinely performed as a precaution, but eventually the medical profession realized that in many cases this actually increased the risk of fecal incontinence. Unfortunately, these problems can increase after menopause.

Thank you so much for sharing your situation with our readers.

Have you had any medical treatment for these problems such as exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor that are focused more on the fecal incontinence than urinary incontinence? Unfortunately many people with this problem are unfortunate enough to be doubly incontinent.

There are also other possible treatments such as altering your diet or, worst-case scenario, surgery. Have you been referred to a proctologist? I say worst-case scenario but a good proctologist or colorectal surgeon can totally change your life. Surgery might not last indefinitely or may have to be in conjunction with specifically targeted exercises.

I have been meaning to write more about the specific problem of fecal incontinence and so will put this on my to do list. Perhaps you’d like to collaborate with me on this project? I have found that writing, especially in order to assist others with similar problems, can be very helpful in rebuilding self-esteem when one has had challenging problems to cope with in life.


Jan 30, 2012
Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Thank you for this valuable contribution
by: Mary (Editor)

Hi Marion,

Thank you for contributing to this forum.

Living with bowel incontinence can be very difficult as it is constantly present and in the back of your mind no matter where you are or what you are doing. It can dramatically reduce quality of life as you have said - travel becomes difficult or impossible.

It can lead to low self-esteem, over-anxiety and, in extreme circumstances social isolation and loneliness. People with fecal incontinence find it difficult to discuss this, even with family or friends even though it is a medical problem, like any other, and nothing to be ashamed of. The taboo can be so bad that people often cannot even bring themselves to seek medical help. In addition, doctors sometimes misunderstand the problem and treat the sufferer for bowel problems such as irritable bowel syndrome. The result is that most people think it is a much rarer than it actually is.

It is not a problem exclusive to aging (even though it does effect more older people) and can be caused by nerve damage resulting from a fall at any age. It can also be caused by complications during childbirth that result in damage to the sphincter muscle or pelvic floor muscles that can result in the bladder and rectum protruding into the vagina. At one time episiotomies were routinely performed as a precaution, but eventually the medical profession realized that in many cases this actually increased the risk of fecal incontinence. Unfortunately, these problems can increase after menopause.

Thank you so much for sharing your situation with our readers.

Have you had any medical treatment for these problems such as exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor that are focused more on the fecal incontinence than urinary incontinence? Unfortunately many people with this problem are unfortunate enough to be doubly incontinent.

There are also other possible treatments such as altering your diet or, worst-case scenario, surgery. Have you been referred to a proctologist? I say worst-case scenario but a good proctologist or colorectal surgeon can totally change your life. Surgery might not last indefinitely or may have to be in conjunction with specifically targeted exercises.

I have been meaning to write more about the specific problem of fecal incontinence and so will put this on my to do list. Perhaps you’d like to collaborate with me on this project? I have found that writing, especially in order to assist others with similar problems, can be very helpful in rebuilding self-esteem when one has had challenging problems to cope with in life.



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