What is Bowel Incontinence?
Not being able to control a bowel movement from the rectum – has many causes. Some of these include:
- Weakness of the anal muscle
- Mobility problems
- Nervous system disorders
- Mental confusion
Other factors include:
- Long-term use of laxatives
- Not enough fluid or fiber intake
- Lack of exercise
- Very hard stool/severe constipation (may cause leakage)
What are the Signs and Symptoms?
- Losing control of a bowel movement or blockage of bowel contents.
- Symptoms may include:
- Nonstop oozing of loose stools
- Loss of appetite
What to Report to the Care Team?
- Color, looseness, and odor of the stool
- Abdominal discomfort, cramping, or bloating
- Medications and diet history
- Changes in activity level
- Skin problems in the affected area
- Concerns and thoughts from either the patient or caregiver
What Can Be Done for Bowel Incontinence?
- Know the person’s bowel history, which includes the usual routine, time of day, following a meal, etc.
- Ask your healthcare team about strategies to reestablish a routine and predictable schedule for elimination.
- Plan a bowel retraining program that is easy and fits into the person’s lifesty Your nurse can help with this.
- Take in enough fluids and fiber, if poss
- Determining types of fluids and fiber sources pleasing to the patient.
- Provide ample time and privacy during toilet
- Keep skin clean and dry to prevent breakdown and odors.
- Avoid baby powder and cornstarch – use protective barrier creams.
- Wear loose-fitting clothing to allow for airflow.
- Control odors with fresh air and room deodorize
- Wear protective garments.
- Avoid foods that act as laxatives; these include caffeine, alcohol, diet soda, and artificial sweeteners.
- Talk to your nurse for additional information.