Bowel Incontinence in Men

Bowel incontinence or fecal incontinence occurs when stool or gas unexpectedly leaks. Bowel incontinence can be as mild as unintentionally leaking stool when passing gas, to a full loss of controlling the bowels. Several contributing factors may cause bowel incontinence, and this condition can affect people of all ages, not just older men and women.

Common Causes of Bowel Incontinence in Men

Normal functioning of the rectum, anus, and nervous system are all required to maintain continence and hold stool from leaking.

Bowel incontinence in men is usually the result of a complex mixture of factors that contribute to a weakening of the muscles that control your sphincter, which is the ring of muscle that controls the opening and closing of the anus that helps hold stool and gas until it can be eliminated.

Some of the common causes of bowel incontinence include:

  • Constipation – Having three or fewer bowel movements in a single weak can significantly contribute to the weakening of the anus and intestines
  • Chronic diarrhea – When loose or watery bowel movements are experienced three or more times a day and last for more than a few days, severe constipation could signify a more serious underlying disease.
  • Prostate surgery – The first few weeks following prostate removal surgery (also known as prostatectomy), men may experience bowel incontinence due to the increased abdominal space with the loss of the prostate.
  • Anal sphincter muscle damage – If the ring of muscle that controls the opening and closing of the anus is damaged, involuntary stool leakage can happen.
  • Rectal prolapse – As a result of prolonged constipation or weakening of the pelvic floor muscles, rectal prolapse is when part of the rectum slips out of position and protrudes out of the anus.
  • Chronic laxative abuse – When a person becomes dependent on laxatives for a long time, the colon stops reacting and requires a larger dose to achieve a bowel movement. Internal organs can be damaged and lead to colon infections and Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
  • Nervous system disorders – Having a stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, dementia, or Multiple sclerosis can damage the nervous system and affect the nerves that sense stool in the rectum or the ability to control the anal sphincter.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – Abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and diarrhea are all symptoms of IBS that can lead to bowel incontinence.

Possible Treatments for Bowel Incontinence in Men

Some treatments can help bowel incontinence in men. Treatment choice depends on the cause and severity of the disease as well as the person’s motivation and general health. Commonly, conservative measures are used together, and if appropriate, surgery is carried out.

  • Diet changes – Keeping a daily food and beverage journal can help keep track of what type of foods may be causing your symptoms. Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist if needed.
  • Medications – Your doctor may prescribe or suggest over-the-counter medicines like bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate) or loperamide (Imodium) if you have diarrhea. If you are constipated, stool softeners, laxatives, or fiber supplements (Metamucil or Citrucel) may improve your fecal incontinence by stimulating the colon to move stool.
  • Bowel retraining –  This type of treatment program includes daily training to help regulate bowel movements using diet, various techniques, and sometimes medication. The program will be different for everybody because each person responds differently. Your doctor will help you develop the best course of action that is suited for your unique needs.
  • Pelvic floor muscle strengthening – Your doctor may refer you to a physical therapist specializing in pelvic floor muscle exercises (Kegel exercises). Through tightening and relaxing your pelvic area, anus, and rectum, this type of activity will help increase muscle strength and bowel and gas control.
  • Surgery – In extreme or unmanageable cases, surgery can be carried out to improve bowel incontinence. Sphincteroplasty is a procedure that reconnects any anal sphincter tears that may have occurred from a man’s genitals or urinary area. Other surgery might treat other medical conditions that affect bowel incontinence, such as rectal prolapse or hemorrhoids.

Complications of Bowel Incontinence

Bowel Incontinence or fecal incontinence can be very stressful for those who experience it. It can cause emotional distress as well as skin irritation.

Emotional distress – When you lose control over your bodily functions, it can be embarrassing, frustrating, and depressing. This loss of dignity can lead to avoidance of social interaction and trying to hide the condition.

Skin irritation – When there is repeated contact with incontinence products such as toilet paper and personal care wipes, the sensitive and delicate perineal tissue around the anus can become irritated. This constant contact can lead to itching, pain, rashes, or potentially sores such as ulcers that require medical attention.

Managing Life with Bowel Incontinence

readiness essentials supplies for managing bowel incontinence in menYou can help manage bowel incontinence by always making sure to be well-stocked on bowel incontinence supplies, whether you are home or heading out. By following the bowel retraining program and using the toilet before you leave home, you can help lessen or possibly eliminate an embarrassing episode. You can also make sure you carry your medications, incontinence supplies, fecal deodorants, and a change of clothes with you.

The perineal tissue around the anus is sensitive and delicate.  Therefore, anal discomfort, itching, and irritation can be common. Here are some ways to help manage these symptoms:

Bowel incontinence in men is more common than you may think. You do not have to suffer in silence. Finding the right incontinence products for men and developing a plan with your doctor can help you overcome this condition and lead a life of dignity.

For questions about any of the bowel or fecal incontinence products or other incontinence supplies we carry, please give us a call or complete our Contact Us form. One of our Product Experts will be happy to help and guide you through your purchasing experience.

Popular Incontinence Products for Men

Prevail Men's Overnight Disposable Underwear

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Depend Guards for Men

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Cardinal Men's FlexRight Maximum Absorbency Protective Underwear

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Take Control of Your Pelvic Floor Disorder

Woman breathing in the fresh air outside and smiling

Whether it’s from straining, childbirth, age, an injury, or surgery, pelvic floor disorder can feel physically painful and emotionally isolating. Conditions like urinary and fecal incontinence are more common than you might think, and they’re very treatable. Here are some of the common ways you can start to take control of your pelvic floor disorder!

Pelvic Floor Issues

Roughly one in three women is affected by pelvic floor disorders leading to urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or pelvic discomfort. It is not uncommon for women with pelvic floor disorders to experience frequent urinary tract infections.

Common Conditions Related to Pelvic Floor Disorder

  • Woman holding her pelvic region in painFrequent or urgent urination
  • Leaking urine when laughing or coughing
  • Painful urination
  • Pressure and pain in your vagina, bladder, or rectum
  • Vaginal bulging (pelvic muscles weaken, causing the pelvic organs to drop into the vagina, causing a bulge)

Some of the more advanced conditions are:

  • Fecal incontinence – leakage of feces due to the inability to control bowel movements
  • Overactive bladder – the urge to urinate becomes challenging to control, causing leakage during both day and night
  • Pelvic floor dysfunction – the inability to relax the pelvic floor muscles for natural bowel movements often leading to constipation, urge incontinence (sudden need to urinate), and pain
  • Pelvic organ prolapse – the pelvic muscles cannot support the organs in the pelvic region
  • Rectovaginal fistula – an abnormal connection between the rectum and the vagina causing leakage of bowel into the vagina
  • Recurrent urinary tract infections – persistent infections in the kidneys, bladder, or urethra
  • Urethral diverticulum – a pouch that forms along the urethra, often filling with urine and leading to infection
  • Urinary incontinence – involuntary leakage of urine
  • Urinary retention – the inability to fully empty the bladder
  • Vaginal mesh complications – any abnormality resulting from placement of mesh after transvaginal surgery such as bleeding, infection, or pain
  • Vesicovaginal fistula– an abnormal connection between the vagina and bladder causing involuntary urine leakage

Treating Pelvic Floor Disorder with Physical Therapy

When the pelvic floor muscles are too tight or too weak, they can cause incontinence or even pain. Physical therapy is one of the ways to take charge of your pelvic health. Specially trained physical therapists can provide pelvic floor dysfunction treatments, including bowel and bladder dysfunction, pelvic pain, abdominal/ organ conditions, pelvic bones, hip pain, and low back/sacral and coccygeal disorders.

Using the latest technology advances, these physical therapists can apply targeted rehabilitative techniques, including pelvic floor therapy, computerized biofeedback, and strengthening and relaxation techniques. Their goal is to help women with pelvic floor disorders to relieve their discomfort and improve their daily living quality. Pelvic physical therapy is covered by insurance, although coverage may vary.

You may be trained to practice pelvic floor exercises regularly at home to improve your bladder or bowel control, reduce the risk of prolapse, and increase your quality of life. Here, the pelvic floor and how to exercise these muscles is explained:

Treating Pelvic Floor Disorder with Medication

Person dispensing medication from a bottle into the palm of their handThe goal of treatment for pelvic floor disorder is to reduce symptoms and improve quality of life. After your doctor cannot identify the specific cause, your treatment plan’s focus will be managing the symptoms and pain.

Your doctor may recommend several medications to treat your condition, such as:

  • Pain relievers – Over-the-counter pain remedies such as Tylenol, ibuprofen, or aspirin may provide partial relief from your pelvic pain. However, a prescription pain reliever may be necessary. Pain medication alone, however, rarely solves the problem of chronic pain.
  • Antibiotics – If your pelvic pain stems from an infection, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics.
  • Hormone treatments – If pelvic pain is experienced simultaneously with your menstrual cycle, the pain may be related to the hormonal changes that control menstruation and ovulation. Doctors often prescribe hormonal medications or birth control methods to manage the pain.
  • Antidepressants – Even if symptoms of depression are not present, your doctor may opt to treat your pelvic main with an antidepressant. Some types of antidepressants can be helpful for chronic pain and have pain-relieving effects.

Treating Pelvic Floor Disorder with Surgery

Doctor performing pelvic floor surgeryIf non-surgical therapies do not resolve your pelvic floor disorder symptoms, or for more complex pelvic organ prolapse conditions, robotic-assisted surgery may be recommended. Usually, surgery is recommended after more conservative options have been exhausted.

  • Transvaginal – Implanted surgical mesh made of synthetic polypropylene reinforces the weakened vaginal wall.
  • Open abdominal – A large incision is made either from the belly button down to the upper pelvic zone or from the outer left pelvic area across the abdomen to the outer right pelvic area.
  • Laparoscopic – This minimally invasive technique uses a thin, flexible tube with a video camera on the end that is inserted through tiny incisions near the belly button. The uterus is removed through the tube or vagina. This type of procedure provides improved recovery with less pain, less bleeding, and faster recovery.
  • Robotic-Assisted
    • Hysterectomy – Removal of the uterus
    • Sacrocollpopexy – Reconstructive surgery to repair vaginal prolapse
    • Sacral Urethropexy – Correcting the uterine prolapse following a hysterectomy

Many underlying issues may be causing your pelvic floor disorder, but we hope you’ve found this information about possible treatments helpful. Nothing is more important than your health. If you have any questions about the incontinence supplies or catheters we offer to help manage your symptoms, give us a call, and one of our Product Experts will be happy to help guide you through your purchasing experience.

Popular Incontinence and Catheter Supplies

Prevail Women's Overnight Disposable Underwear

Item #PWX512B Prevail Womens Overnight Underwear

Tranquility Personal Care Pads

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Coloplast SpeediCath Compact Catheter Set for Women

Coloplast SpeediCath Compact Catheter Set for Women

GentleCath Glide Female Catheter

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