How to Manage Faecal Incontinence

When incontinence is discussed, it’s often assumed that urinary incontinence is the only problem. The reality is that faecal incontinence (bowel/poo) is just as common, but the consequences are greater – as this is often the precursor to transferring to nursing home care.

Faecal incontinence arises when a person can no longer control their bowel movements, resulting in embarrassing accidents. It’s considered far more embarrassing that accidents with urine and is the most common reason a person will stop socialising or venturing out of the home. This leads to isolation, loneliness and depression, which in turn, leads to medical and mental decline.

A recurrence of some of the following events normally confirms the diagnosis of faecal incontinence. Being unaware of soiling, leaking poo when passing wind, sudden uncontrollable urge to go to the loo, especially if you are not feeling unwell.

Bowel incontinence can be caused by a variety if conditions, such as IBS, diarrhoea, constipation, childbirth and ageing. Dementia and Alzheimer’s are also major causes, resulting from confusion and unawareness of toileting needs.

It can be alleviated by changing one’s diet, by avoiding foods/drinks that make matters worse. It can be helpful to eat more fibre, drink less coffee/fizzy drinks and drink more water. Pelvic exercises can also help improve matters by strengthening the muscles that control bowel movements. In some instances, training the body to empty the bowels at set time can help to get back into a habit that can reduce problems.

For those who cannot reverse problems, the only alternatives are to manage the situation as best one can by using incontinence products. Placing a commode in the bedroom, or downstairs, can help by having a resource nearby for those important seconds, when needed, as this can help prevent accidents.

If your loved one is beyond remedial products, accidents will still happen, so then, the only alternative is to start using adult pads/diapers. These come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and absorbency levels. There are adult pads with adhesive, closure tabs, as well as pull up ones for those that can still manage by themselves. They will also provide protection, comfort, and dignity, for both loved one and carer. Check out the ranges available in the following link in our incontinence section: www.murrays.ie/incontinence

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