The definition of faecal incontinence is: losing stools from the bowel when you don’t intend to. It is sometimes referred to as FI, or bowel/stool incontinence. Find out more here.
Not necessarily. There are various types of urinary incontinence, and having an overactive bladder is only one of them. With OAB, people feel an intense desire to visit the bathroom more than is ‘usual’. This is most closely related to urge incontinence, when people leak urine without wanting too. Whilst the two conditions can occur together, it is possible to have one without the other.
You can find out more detail about the symptoms of urinary incontinence here. But basically, the physical signs include the following:
- leaking urine during everyday activities, such as lifting, bending, coughing, or exercising
- feeling a sudden, strong urge to urinate right away
- leaking urine without any warning or urge
- being unable to reach a toilet in time
- wetting your bed during sleep
You can find out more detail about the symptoms of faecal incontinence here. But basically, the physical signs include the following:
- You know when you need to pass a stool but are not able to control it before reaching a toilet.
- You pass stool or mucus from your anus without knowing it.
- You have streaks or stains of stool or mucus on your underwear (soiling).
There are many possible causes of urinary incontinence, bladder weakness or bladder problems, including:
- A weakening of the pelvic floor muscles as a result of vaginal childbirth
- Conditions that affect the nervous system and therefore the communication between the brain and the bladder, for example a stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease or a spinal cord injury
- Birth defects of the urinary system
- Injuries from an accident
- Certain medications such as anti-depressants, sedatives, diuretics, or muscle relaxants
- Certain medical procedures such as prostrate surgery
There are many causes of faecal incontinence, including constipation, diarrhoea, muscle damage, nerve damage, reduced elasticity, rectal prolapse, rectocele and haemorrhoids. You can find out more here.
There are many causes of bowel leakage, including constipation, diarrhoea, muscle damage, nerve damage, reduced elasticity, rectal prolapse, rectocele and haemorrhoids. You can find out more here.
Loss of bowel control can be caused by a number of factors, including constipation, diarrhoea, muscle damage, nerve damage, reduced elasticity, rectal prolapse, rectocele and haemorrhoids. You can find out more here.
Vaginal childbirth can weaken the pelvic floor muscles, which can be a cause of incontinence for some women. However, there are a number of treatments available to help this condition, including pelvic floor muscle exercises. If you are worried about being pregnant or giving birth, speak to a healthcare professional for advice.
Very! Since many people keep their incontinence a secret, the reported figures are probably highly underestimated. Our best guess is that around 36 million Europeans suffer from urinary incontinence, and around 1 in 15 adults have faecal incontinence. In addition, 10% of six-year olds have urinary incontinence and 1-3% of children between the ages of 5-17 have a problem with soiling. Find out more here.
No! It is true that incontinence becomes more likely as one gets older (since the menopause and prostate changes can be a key cause), but that does not mean that it should be accepted as an inevitable part of later life. In fact, there are many treatments available no matter your age, and it is always important that the situation is properly accessed by a knowledgeable and caring healthcare professional. Furthermore, don’t think that younger people are immune from incontinence. Many women suffer symptoms after childbirth, and parents frequently report that their children wet the bed or soil their clothing. Find out more here.
Luckily, there are many treatments and medications available for both urinary and faecal incontinence. Take a look at our dedicated treatment area for more information on what is available.
Pelvic floor exercises (or Kegel exercises) can help strengthen certain muscles in your pelvic floor. Strengthening these muscles can help prevent or treat both urinary and faecal incontinence. You can find out how to properly do these exercises here.
These products are all ‘self-care products’ that can be used as a last resort for incontinence. That’s because there are many solutions available for people with incontinence, and it is not something you just have to put up with! Find out about all the options in our dedicated treatment area for more information on what is available.
These are products often used for people with nocturnal enuresis, or bedwetting. Disposable bed pads are only used once, whilst bed protector sheets can be washed and re-used. Whilst they can be useful to have to hand, they are not the only options available. That’s because there are many solutions available for people with incontinence, and it is not something you just have to put up with! Find out about all the options in our dedicated treatment area for more information on what is available.
First of all, realise that you are not alone. Incontinence is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. Secondly, speak to a healthcare professional! Take a look at How can I get help? to find help and advice around making an appointment. You’ll be glad you did – once you have a diagnosis, there are many treatments available that could change your quality of life forever.
Bedwetting and daytime wetting are frequent concerns for parents and their children. Since it is such a common problem, we’ve created a dedicated section that contains useful tips and advice for this condition.
If you have only recently been diagnosed with incontinence and have yet to try any treatments, there many be some simple lifestyle changes that you can make to your diet and lifestyle in order to ensure that your bladder and bowel are as healthy as possible. Of course, the best person to help you treat incontinence is your healthcare professional. If you have any concerns about making or attending an appointment, head over to How can I get help? to find help and advice.
Many people! If you haven’t yet got a diagnosis, then take a look at How can I get help? to find help and advice around making an appointment with a healthcare professional. If you already have a diagnosis, then take a look at other sections of the website, including What treatments are available? and How can I live with incontinence?.