Bowel Issues

 

BOWEL INCONTINENCE (or Fecal incontinence) is defined as the involuntary loss of stool, or the inability to control bowel movements. Although it is common (approximately 1 in 9 people in NZ!) and has an enormous impact on quality of life, people are often reluctant to tell anyone about their symptoms due to embarrassment.  

GETTING AN ASSESSMENT BY YOUR GP IS ALWAYS A GOOD PLACE TO START AS THERE ARE MANY DIFFERENT CONDITIONS WHICH MAY CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS BOWEL INCONTINENCE 

  • Pelvic Floor Muscle damage or weakness (eg from childbirth)
  • Loose stools/ diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Neurological Conditions
  • Irritable Bowel Disease (IBS)
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (e.g. Crohn’s disease)

 Pelvic Floor Physiotherapy can help with Fecal Incontinence by: 

  • Assessing the pelvic floor muscles to identify any issues contributing towards the incontinence (this may be strengthening specific pelvic floor muscles or relaxing the pelvic floor muscles or sometimes both)
  • Providing an individualised exercise programme to address any of the issues found in the assessment
  • Providing education and advice on toileting habits and bowel urge suppression techniques
  • Teaching how to use electrical stimulation to strengthen the Pelvic Floor muscles, feed-back devices to learn how to contract/ relax the pelvic floor muscles or TENS to reduce bowel urgency

THERE ARE SOME TOOLS AVAILABLE ON THE MARKET WHICH CAN HELP TO IMPROVE YOUR FECAL INCONTINENCE SYMPTOMS, DEPENDING ON THE UNDERLYING CAUSE

  • Pelvic Floor Educator - to learn how to correctly contract/ relax the deep layer of your pelvic floor muscles
  • Neurotrac Continence - for electrical stimulation to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles or TENS to reduce bowel urgency  
  • Periform Vaginal Electrode - for use with an electrical stimulation unit for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles 
  • PFLEX Anal Probe - for use with an electrical stimulation unit for strengthening the pelvic floor muscles 
  • Intimate Rose Pelvic Wand - to assist with gentle stretching of the hard-to-reach pelvic floor muscles if tightness of these muscles is causing constipation 

If you have Bowel Control Issues and would like to discuss your specific concerns and find out what device would work best for you click here to book an Online Consultation with an experienced Pelvic Health Physiotherapist.