“You should not ignore these problems because without help, they rarely go away and usually get worse over time. They can interfere with work, social activities…”..1

Umbrella
What may the Bowel Incontinence Umbrella include?

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

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

Incontinence

What is incontinence?

DotS the definition of incontinence may vary. The International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorder’s (IFFGD) definition is:

““Incontinence” is the word used to describe loss of control over when and where we go to the bathroom”.2

Bowel Incontinence

What is bowel incontinence?

DotS the definition of bowel incontinence may vary. The IFFGD’s definition is:

“Bowel incontinence occurs when the loss of control of gas, liquid stool, or solid stool is enough to cause discomfort or distress. Incontinence is a sign that something is wrong – some part of the bowel control system is not working as it should”.3

The (United States) National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) definition is:

“Fecal incontinence, also called accidental bowel leakage, is the accidental passing of bowel movements—including solid stools, liquid stools, or mucus—from your anus”.4

Common or Not

How common is bowel incontinence?

In the United States, according to the NIDDK:

“Medical experts consider fecal incontinence a common problem, affecting about 1 in 3 people who see a primary health care provider”.5

Cause

What may cause bowel incontinence?

In Fecal Incontinence: Overview the (United States), Mayo Clinic explain:

“Common causes of fecal incontinence include diarrhea, constipation, and muscle or nerve damage. The muscle or nerve damage may be associated with aging or with giving birth”.6

Menopause

Is there an association between bowel incontinence and menopause?

In Women: Menopause the Continence Foundation of Australia note:

Bowel Incontinence

“Menopause is a time of change in a woman’s life. One of the changes that many women notice is increased difficulty with bladder and bowel control”.7

Coping

What can help coping with bowel incontinence?

In Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Treatment of Fecal Incontinence – How Do I Cope With My Fecal Incontinence? the NIDDK explain:

“Doing the following can help you cope with your fecal incontinence:

  • Using the toilet before leaving home
  • Carrying a bag with cleanup supplies and a change of clothes when leaving the house
  • Finding public restrooms before one is needed
  • Wearing absorbent pads inside your underwear
  • Wearing disposable underwear
  • Using fecal deodorants—over-the-counter pills that reduce the smell of stool and gas
  • Taking over-the-counter medicines to help prevent diarrhea before eating in restaurants or at social gatherings”.8

Treatment

What is the first step in treating bowel incontinence?

In Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Treatment of Fecal Incontinence the NIDDK elaborate on:

“The first step in treating your fecal incontinence is to see a doctor. Your doctor will talk to you about the causes of fecal incontinence and how they can be treated. Simple treatments—such as diet changes, medicines, bowel training, and exercises to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles—can improve symptoms by about 60 percent. These treatments can stop fecal incontinence in 1 out of 5 people”.9

Helpline

May some Countries have a national continence/incontinence Helpline?

Yes. Your Country may have a Helpline similar to the Continence Foundation of Australia’s Continence Helpline.

Toilet Maps, Cards or Apps

May some Countries have toilet maps, cards or Apps?

Your Country may have a toilet map similar to Australia’s National Public Toilet Map: About the Toilet Map:

“The National Public Toilet Map shows the location of more than 19,000 public and private public facilities across Australia, including toilets, adult change and baby care. Information is provided about each toilet, such as location, accessibility details, opening hours and features like sharps disposal and showers”.10

Or your Country may have a card or App similar to the (United Kingdom) Bladder & Bowel Community’s (B&B) FREE Just Can’t Wait Toilet Card.

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have bowel incontinence?

If you think you have bowel incontinence, it may be in your best interest to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Bowel Problems, Conditions & Symptoms the B&B explain:

“The first and most important point to remember is that everyone with a bowel problem can be helped and many can be completely cured”.11

The Continence Foundation of Australia encourage us to seek help and explain:

“You should not ignore these problems because without help, they rarely go away and usually get worse over time”.12

In Bowel Incontinence: Overview – When To Get Medical Advice the (United Kingdom) NHS also note:

“See a GP if you have difficulty controlling your bowels. Do not be embarrassed about talking to someone about it.

Remember that:

  • It’s not something to be ashamed of
  • It’s common and GPs are used to seeing people with it
  • It’s not something you have to put up with
  • It will probably not get better on its own
  • It can be treated”.13

Who is a GP?

DotS and/or DotC (Depending on the Country) a GP may be a qualified and registered general practitioner, a medical practitioner, a medical doctor or a doctor.

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Bowel Incontinence?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Bowel Incontinence?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Women: Menopause – Symptoms. Last Updated: 15 July 2021. Last Reviewed: 01 April 2020. Continence Foundation of Australia https://www.continence.org.au/who-it-affects/women/menopause Accessed: 11 August 2022
  2. What Is Incontinence? International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders https://aboutincontinence.org/what-is-incontinence.html Accessed: 11 August 2022
  3. What Is Incontinence? International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders https://aboutincontinence.org/what-is-incontinence.html Accessed: 11 August 2022
  4. Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Definition & Facts of Faecal Incontinence – What Is Fecal Incontinence? July 2017. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/bowel-control-problems-fecal-incontinence/definition-facts Accessed: 11 August 2022
  5. Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Definition & Facts of Faecal Incontinence – How Common Is Fecal Incontinence? July 2017. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/bowel-control-problems-fecal-incontinence/definition-facts Accessed: 11 August 2022
  6. Fecal Incontinence: Overview. 01 December 2020. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/fecal-incontinence/symptoms-causes/syc-20351397 Accessed: 11 August 2022
  7. Women: Menopause. Last Updated: 15 July 2021. Last Reviewed: 01 April 2020. Continence Foundation of Australia https://www.continence.org.au/who-it-affects/women/menopause Accessed: 11 August 2022
  8. Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Treatment of Fecal Incontinence – How Do I Cope With Fecal Incontinence? July 2017. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/bowel-control-problems-fecal-incontinence/treatment Accessed: 11 August 2022
  9. Bowel Control Problems (Fecal Incontinence): Treatment of Faecal Incontinence. July 2017. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/digestive-diseases/bowel-control-problems-fecal-incontinence/treatment Accessed: 11 August 2022
  10. National Public Toilet Map: About the Toilet Map. National Continence Program https://toiletmap.gov.au/about Accessed: 11 August 2022
  11. Bowel Problems, Conditions & Symptoms. Bladder & Bowel Community https://www.bladderandbowel.org/bowel/bowel-problems/ Accessed: 11 August 2022
  12. Women: Menopause – Symptoms. Last Updated: 15 July 2021. Last Reviewed: 01 April 2020. Continence Foundation of Australia https://www.continence.org.au/who-it-affects/women/menopause Accessed: 11 August 2022
  13. Bowel Incontinence: Overview – When To Get Medical Advice. Page Last Reviewed: 04 March 2021. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/bowel-incontinence/#when-to-get-medical-advice Accessed: 11 August 2022
Topic Last Updated: 11 August 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 11 August 2022

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