What are some alternatives to bowel incontinence pads?
When you are worried about incontinence, self-care products like bowel incontinence pads can seem like a safe option. They allow you to get on with your daily life, confident in the knowledge that you’ll be protected from any leaks in an emergency. However, Patient Associations for Incontinence agree that bowel incontinence pads for men and women should be seen as a last resort rather than as a first-line treatment. That’s because there are many alternatives available that can provide a solution for faecal incontinence in the long-term. Keep reading to find a treatment that might be right for you.
Alternative 1: Behavioural treatments
If you’ve been recently diagnosed with faecal incontinence and have yet to try any treatments apart from bowel incontinence pads, then bowel “retraining” could be a good option for you. Basically, this involves some simple techniques to help change your bathroom habits. For example, your healthcare professional might recommend that you try to stick to a regular bathroom “schedule”, so that you only go to the bathroom at certain times. Or you can use an alarm that warns you when it is time for your next visit, and monitor any “accidents”. Find out more information here.
Alternative 2: Pelvic floor exercises
If you have read the facts about faecal incontinence, you’ll know that the condition is closely related to the health of the pelvic floor. That’s because the pelvic floor muscles are closely situated to the anus and the bowel in both males and females – they support all the internal organs that are involved in the release of faeces and wind. For that reason, strengthening them is recommended to both treat and prevent bowel incontinence. On our platform, you’ll find tons of resources to help you perfect your pelvic floor exercise technique, including useful videos from bowel incontinence experts.
Alternative 3: Sacral neuromodulation
If first-line treatments don’t significantly improve your faecal incontinence symptoms, then sacral neuromodulation could be an option. This treatment involves placing a small device into the lower back, next to the sacral nerve. The sacral nerve is involved in controlling the anal muscles, so by stimulating this with an electrical current, it is possible to restore the bowel to a healthier function. The procedure can also be reversed, and the device removed, if required. To find out more, you can watch the video we have uploaded to the platform, or download a patient brochure.
Of course, the above three alternatives are just a selection of the possible treatments for faecal incontinence. Other first-line and more advanced options include:
- Lifestyle changes
- Mechanical treatments
- Surgical interventions
- Alternative therapies
Head over to the Support in Continence platform to learn about them all! And if you haven’t already, then make an appointment with your healthcare professional to discuss your symptoms and get a proper diagnosis. Together, you can find an alternative to bowel incontinence pads that’s right for you.
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