Fecal incontinence affects up to 20% of community-dwelling adults and more than 50% of nursing home residents, and is one of the major risk factors for elderly persons in the nursing home. Institutionalization itself is a risk factor (eg, immobility due to physical restraints).
Treatment and management of fecal incontinence and bowel leakage
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. Whatever the cause, fecal incontinence can be embarrassing.
Bowel incontinence can vary in severity from passing a small amount of feces when breaking wind to total loss of bowel control. It is not life-threatening or hazardous, but it can affect the person’s quality of life, emotional and mental health, and self-esteem.
You can help manage and treat your fecal incontinence in the following ways.
The answer is yes. While aging may be a factor, urinary incontinence is not an inevitable part of aging. As shown by this poll, urinary incontinence affects nearly half of women age 50–80.
A person with dementia is more likely to have accidents, incontinence or difficulties using the toilet than a person of the same age who doesn’t have dementia. For some people, incontinence develops because messages between the brain and the bladder or bowel don’t work properly.
Causes include consuming a diet that is too low in fibre and fluid, insufficient physical activity, medication side effect (e.g., opiates, tricyclic anti-depressants, calcium channel blockers), certain supplements (calcium and iron), irritable bowel syndrome, intestinal obstructions or strictures from surgery, diabetes
Bowel incontinence is usually treatable. In many cases, it can be cured completely. Recommended treatments vary according to the cause of bowel incontinence. Often, more than one treatment method may be required to control symptoms.
What should I avoid eating if I have fecal incontinence?
How can you care for yourself at home?
Call in help. If you have tried to talk casually to make your parent comfortable on this issue, but they still seem closed off, try bringing someone else in to help. A parent with incontinence might find it difficult to discuss this issue with their children. Perhaps a trusted friend or doctor* can help.