Feeling that you can’t wait when you get the urge to open your bowels can be stressful, particularly when you’re away from home. You may sometimes have leakage (incontinence). You may just have a small amount that causes some staining on your underwear. But occasionally some people may have an accident and leak a larger amount of stool. Although you might find this difficult to talk about, it’s important to let your doctor know as there is a lot that can be done to help.
What can be done
If you have bowel control problems, such as urgency, leakage, diarrhoea or constipation, there are several things that can help. The best way to manage bowel control problems depends on the symptoms you have and what’s causing them, so it’s important you’re properly assessed. If your symptoms don’t improve, ask your GP to refer you to a gastroenterologist, a specialist nurse or continence adviser for advice.
The most common methods of improving bowel control include:
- changes to your diet
- medicines to slow the bowel down
- strengthening the muscles used for bowel control.