“After a few days, the diary may show a link between certain foods and drinks and your fecal incontinence. Changing the foods and drinks linked to your…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Bowel Incontinence Pattern Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Anal Incontinence
  • Bowel Continence
  • Bowel Control Problems
  • Bowel Incontinence
  • Constipation
  • Faecal/Fecal Incontinence
  • Incontinence (Fecal/Bowel)
  • Poor Bowel Control

Bowel Incontinence

Is there an association between certain foods and bowel incontinence?

In Dietary Tips the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders explain:

“Certain foods are known to stimulate gut reactions in general, and in those with bowel incontinence, or accidental bowel leakage (ABL), eating too much of these might provoke unwanted reactions. For example, meals that are too large or high in fat, fried foods, coffee, caffeine, or alcohol may provoke symptoms of abdominal cramps and diarrhea”.2

Foods and Drinks

What are common foods and drinks linked to bowel incontinence?

In Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Faecal Incontinence – What Should I Avoid Eating If I Have Faecal Incontinence? the (United States) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) explain:

“If your fecal incontinence is caused by diarrhea, you should avoid foods that make your symptoms worse, such as

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Drinks and foods containing caffeine
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and ice cream
  • Fatty and greasy foods
  • Drinks and foods containing fructose
  • Fruits such as apples, peaches, and pears
  • Spicy foods
  • Products, including candy and gum, with sweeteners ending in “–ol,” such as sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and maltitol”.3

In Fecal Incontinence: Diagnosis & Treatment – Lifestyle and Home Remedies: Dietary Changes – Keeping Track of What You Eat the (United States) Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Foods that can cause diarrhea or gas and worsen fecal incontinence include spicy foods, fatty and greasy foods, and dairy products (if you’re lactose intolerant). Caffeine-containing beverages and alcohol also can act as laxatives, as can products such as sugar-free gum and diet soda, which contain artificial sweeteners”.4

Look for A Pattern

How can I Look for A Pattern with bowel incontinence?

Bowel Incontinence PatternIn Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Faecal Incontinence – What Should I Avoid Eating If I Have Faecal Incontinence? Keeping A Food Diary the NIDDK elaborate on:

“Your doctor or dietitian may recommend keeping a food diary, which can help you find out which foods and drinks make your symptoms better or worse. After a few days, the diary may show a link between certain foods and drinks and your fecal incontinence. Changing the foods and drinks linked to your fecal incontinence may improve your symptoms”.5

In Fecal Incontinence: Diagnosis & Treatment – Lifestyle and Home Remedies: Dietary Changes the Mayo Clinic note:

  • “Keeping Track of What You Eat. Make a list of what you eat for a few days. You may discover a connection between certain foods and your bouts of incontinence. Once you’ve identified problem foods, stop eating them and see if your incontinence improves”.6

Diary

Where may I find a diary?

The website of the (United States) National Continence Foundation includes Incontinence Diaries: Using A Bladder Diary or Bowel Diary.

Health Care Provider

What if I would like help to look for a pattern with bowel incontinence?

If you would like help to look for a pattern with bowel incontinence, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. Together you may identify any patterns, discuss your options and if required, agree on who may be the most appropriate health care provider to help you.

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Sources

  1. Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Faecal Incontinence – What Should I Avoid Eating If I Have Faecal Incontinence? Keeping A Food Diary. July 2017. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/bowel-control-problems-fecal-incontinence/eating-diet-nutrition Accessed: 24 June 2019
  2. Incontinence Treatment: Dietary Tips. Last Modified on: 24 March 2016. International Foundation of Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders http://www.aboutincontinence.org/site/treatment/dietary-tips Accessed: 24 June 2019
  3. Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Faecal Incontinence – What Should I Avoid Eating If I Have Faecal Incontinence? July 2017. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/bowel-control-problems-fecal-incontinence/eating-diet-nutrition Accessed: 24 June 2019
  4. Fecal Incontinence: Diagnosis & Treatment – Lifestyle and Home Remedies: Dietary Changes – Keeping Track of What You Eat. 12 October 2018. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fecal-incontinence/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351403 Accessed: 24 June 2019
  5. Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Faecal Incontinence – What Should I Avoid Eating If I Have Faecal Incontinence? Keeping A Food Diary. July 2017. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/bowel-control-problems-fecal-incontinence/eating-diet-nutrition Accessed: 24 June 2019
  6. Fecal Incontinence: Diagnosis & Treatment – Lifestyle and Home Remedies: Dietary Changes. 12 October 2018. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fecal-incontinence/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351403 Accessed: 24 June 2019
Topic Last Updated: 24 June 2019 – Topic Last Reviewed: 24 June 2019
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