Do You Have the Right Products to Manage Bowel Incontinence?

woman holding her stomach

No one likes to talk about anything involving their anus or rectum, but being informed on common issues related to those areas of the body can be important for overall health and well-being. According to Cleveland Clinic, many Americans have difficulty moving their bowels.

“Almost everyone will experience some rectal itching, pain, or bleeding at some time during his or her life,” according to Michigan Medicine’s website. These problems are often minor and may go away on their own or with home treatment.

Sometimes symptoms do not abide and may actually worsen. Usually the first sign of a problem is when the anal area appears red and irritated. Additional signs may include hemorrhoids, constipation, rectal bleeding, diarrhea and anal leakage. All of these conditions are uncomfortable and may interfere with daily routines. A woman in her 30s may experience anal leakage after childbirth while an older man in his 80s may show signs of bowel incontinence after experiencing a stroke.

At NorthShore Care Supply, we think being informed and educated is important in living a full life while managing incontinence. Below is a quick checklist of what to look out for if you think you may be experiencing bowel incontinence.

Why Am I Leaking from My Rectum? 

The rectum refers to the last four or five inches of the digestive tract. The rectal outlet or opening is called the anal canal or anus. Anal leakage, also known as anal seepage, is a loss of control of the anal sphincters. It is caused when the muscles do not work properly to hold in stool and cause inflammation. Leakage can consist of various consistencies of feces, rectal fluid, mucus and/or blood.  

Common Causes of Rectal Pain and Leakage

  • Diarrhea – triggered by viruses, bacteria, parasites, certain medications and other causes

  • Constipation – can cause watery stool that builds up behind hard stool

  • Hemorrhoids – prevent muscles around the anus from completely closing

  • Neurological Diseases – MS and Parkinson’s disease are just a couple that can affect the nerves of the rectum, anus and pelvic floor

  • Nerve Damage – resulting from a brain or spinal cord injury or chronic heavy straining to pass stool

  • Rectal Prolapse – causes the rectum to drop through the anus

  • Anal Fissure, Anal Fistula or Abscess

  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) – chronic inflammation of the lower intestinal tract

In severe cases, bowel incontinence may indicate a serious condition that should be immediately evaluated. According to HealthGrades, contact a medical professional right away if you, or someone you know, has these issues combined with other serious symptoms, including high fever (higher than 100o F), rectal bleeding, severe pain or drainage of pus from the rectum.

Treatment Options

Although many people are embarrassed to discuss anal leakage and rectal issues, talking with a medical professional is important if someone experiences regular issues. A doctor may help you identify and recommend one or more treatments such as the following:

  • Dietary Changes, which may focus on fiber or liquid intake

  • Over-the-Counter and Prescription Medications

  • Pelvic Floor Muscle Exercises

  • Bowel Training

  • Biofeedback Therapy

  • Bulking Agents

  • Surgery to treat injuries

Incontinence Products to Help with Leakage

A person with bowel incontinence may not feel they are leaking until it’s too late, so it’s important to have the best products for bowel incontinence.

Tab-Style Briefs (Adult Diapers with Tabs)

Tab-Style Briefs such as NorthShore’s Supreme Lite line, shown below, offer up to 6 hours of protection and features such as all-day absorbency, extra wide coverage and a smooth exterior. NorthShore also offers other high-absorbency diapers such as MEGAMAX, for up to 12 hours of protection, Supreme with 8-hour capacity and more.

NorthShore Supreme Lite Tab-Style Briefs D124NorthShore Supreme Lite Briefs

 

Pull-Up Style Underwear

Absorbent pull-on underwear are often referred to as disposable or protective underwear and feature an absorbent lining with elastic around the wasit and legs to contain leaks. Pull-ons are like regular underwear, with added absorbent lining and often added leak guards. They also are helpful when out in public and at home. 

NorthShore GoSupreme Pull-On Underwear D135NorthShore GoSupreme Pull-On Underwear

 

Diaper Disposal Bags

Odor masking disposal bags help eliminate odors from soiled undergarments and make cleanup easy. The opaque color hides bag contents and a pleasant fresh powder scent helps mask odors for discreet disposal.

Heaven Scent Extra Large Disposal Bags E073Heaven Scent Extra Large Disposal Bags

 

Helpful Tips for Managing Bowel Incontinence

Depending on the cause of leakage, options may include:

  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to keep skin cool and dry.

  • Use alcohol-free, perfume-free heavy-duty cleansing wipes – NorthShore’s Supreme Quilted Wipes are highly recommended.

  • Discuss the use of laxatives or stool softeners with a medical professional to help pass stools if constipation is an issue.

  • Keep hydrated  and drink lots of water.

  • Consider Kegel exercises - They can strengthen the muscles of the bladder and bowel.

  • Mind your diet and consider changing it to feel better.

  • Use moisture barrier cream to prevent contact with feces and to help maintain skin integrity. NorthShore carries a top-selling barrier cream.

While bowel incontinece is not a desirable topic to discuss, there are steps that can be taken to try and address accidental bowel incontinence, including speaking with a medical professional, and managing bowel incontinence with helpful products and supplies. 

For assistance with choosing products to help manage bowel incontinence, please visit NorthShore.com or call us at (800) 563-0161.

We're always happy to help!