Let's tackle a fundamental issue for seniors - bowel incontinence. Many people are behind in knowing about it, or fear they'll be the rump of a joke if they bring it up. It may be a cheeky subject, butt let's get to the bottom of it. So take a seat while we answer your #1 questions about #2 problems.
Overview & Prevalence of Fecal Incontinence
Simply put, fecal incontinence is the involuntary loss of control of liquid or solid stools. The term can otherwise be defined as bowel incontinence or faecal incontinence. While this can occur as an infrequent session of diarrhea for some, many individuals suffer from recurring daily fecal incontinence.
When looking at individuals under the age 65, only about 1% suffer from fecal incontinence, whereas the percentage increases to 4%-7% of people over the age 65. It is also more common for women over age 65 to have problems rather than men and is interesting to note that the prevalence of fecal incontinence can reach up to 50% in elderly nursing homes.
Fecal Incontinence Causes
There are a variety of different reasons bowel incontinence may occur. Some of them include:
- Muscle damage
- Nerve damage
- Gynecological, rectal, or prostate surgery
- Stress of an unfamiliar place
- Long-term laxative use
Treatments for Bowel Incontinence
Many individuals are hesitant to talk to their health care provider about fecal incontinence because they feel embarrassed, but it is recommended individuals do so since there are treatments available. Some of the simplest things can help to reduce fecal incontinence.
Firstly, we want to discuss diet. Many individuals might ask “what diet helps fecal incontinence?” It is common that food choices that are spicy, fatty, and greasy can cause bowel incontinence, as well as dairy products and food that contains sweeteners. Alcohol and caffeine may also increase fecal incontinence.
In order to reduce the risk of fecal incontinence, individuals should minimize these food options, while also increasing their fibre intake by consuming fibre rich foods or supplements. In addition, it is vital individuals are getting plenty of water to drink.
Next up, we need to mention bowel retraining and pelvic floor exercises. Yet another good reason to speak to your doctor; your healthcare provider can recommend different exercises in order to strengthen the sphincter and pelvic floor muscles.
In addition to the previous treatments there are also surgery options for fecal incontinence, although we recommend talking to your healthcare provider before considering any surgery. Some of these can include decal diversion, injection treatment, a sacral nerve stimulator, an artificial bowel sphincter, a rectal sphincter repair, or a gracilis muscle transplant.
Products for Bowel Incontinence
It may be difficult to know where to start when you or a loved one is managing fecal incontinence, but at Healthwick we offer a variety of products that can assist with bowel incontinence.
Briefs for Bowel Incontinence
We suggest brief (aka diaper) options over pullup underwear because the tabs on the diapers make changing easier. A few brief options to choose from are:
TENA Ultra Briefs provide individuals heavy absorbent protection and security against leakage suitable for fecal incontinence. The product features hook tabs for unlimited refastening to ensure a secure, comfortable fit around the body.
TENA Super Briefs deliver maximum absorbency for nighttime protection and extended wear. This product contains maximum security against leakage suitable for bowel incontinence.
Molicare Premium Soft Cloth Super Briefs is another great product suitable for skin condition improvement and redness reduction for urinary and fecal incontinence as well as for overnight protection.
Individuals might also want to look into absorbent sheets. A popular option to choose would be Tranquility Absorbent Sheets. These provide cost-effective, multipurpose absorbent sheets to be used for urinary and bowel incontinence management.
Another product option to be considered would be anal plugs. Coloplast Peristeen Small 37mm Anal Plugs or Coloplast Peristeen Large 45mm Anal Plugs provide a simple and effective aid to stop fecal incontinence. The plug is made from a comfortable foam that retains its softness in use, with a less absorbent string for greater discretion.
Ointments and Creams
It is common individuals managing incontinence may develop rashes or redness due to diaper use.
SECURA Protective Cream contains a formula designed to help treat and prevent rash and redness that is associated with diaper use and prolonged exposure to feces.
SECURA Protective Ointment is similar and additionally contains vitamin A, D and E which helps soothe sensitive skin.
Healthwick also carries a variety of swim diapers to cater to bowel incontinence. In regards to swim diapers, individuals have the option of disposable, or washable briefs.
SOSecure Containment Swim-Briefs are a recommended washable option. This product is an effective and discreet swimming undergarment with a focus on practicality, durability and comfort. This product comes in a wide range of sizes including children, youth, and adult.
Tranquility Swimmates Disposable Swim Underwear is a disposable product you can wear under your swim suit for discreet form-fitting protection.
We understand fecal incontinence can make some individuals hesitant to swim, but you shouldn’t let it keep you out of the pool. Check out our previous blog post 3 Myths about Swimming and Incontinence to learn more.
It may be a touchy subject, but it is vital that individuals understand bowel incontinence is not something to be embarrassed about. Healthwick experts are here to assist with all incontinence needs. We offer a variety of products to help you or your loved one feel confident and protected in daily life.