Bowel control problems or bowel incontinence are very embarrassing. They are more common than people think. About 1.8 crore adults in the India may be affected, and this number is may be even morer as most people are too embarrassed to report this condition. That converts to least one out of every 12 people have problem with controlling their bowels. This problem is present men or women of all ages.
Bowel control problems can include many things:
- Accidental bowel leakage (ABL): the involuntary release of solid or liquid stool or flatus (also called anal incontinence), including:
- Fecal incontinence: the involuntary release of solid or liquid stool
- Flatal incontinence: the involuntary release of gas (also called flatus)
- Constipation: infrequent spontaneous stools and straining during bowel movements
Bowel control problems can affect people of every age. Older women experience these problems more than others, but ABL can happen at any age and to men as well. This problem can lead to embarrassment and concerns about odor or hygiene. Some women start to avoid exercise, social activities, or other things as a result.
Certain health conditions such as frequent diarrhea, hemorrhoids, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and a history of a stroke can put you at higher risk for bowel incontinence. People who have had surgery or radiation to the pelvic area are also at risk. Women are particularly at risk because of injuries to the pelvic floor that can result from having children. If the muscles, ligaments, tissues or nerves of the pelvic floor are damaged, women can experience troubles with bowel movements shortly after childbirth, or years later.
Bowel control problems or bowel incontinence can be extremely distressing and cause many feelings of embarrassment. Unfortunately, many women are too embarrassed to talk about them with a health care provider. However, there are medical and surgical options to help women with this problem, and new treatments coming out recently have been shown to be very helpful. Speaking up and talking about these problems is the first step toward having healthy bowel habits.
Am I at Risk of Bowel Incontinence?
There are many causes of bowel problems, which vary based on type.
Risk factors for fecal incontinence include:
- Childbirth Injury
- Anal Sphincter Injury
- Nerve Injury
- Abnormal Stool Consistency
Risk factors for constipation include:
- Dietary Problems
- Medicines and Supplements
- Pelvic Floor Disorders
- Medical Conditions
Bowel Incontinence Types
Bowel Incontinence Diagnosis
Bowel Incontinence Prevention
Bowel Incontinence Treatment