How regular are you? Being regular dosen't mean that you pass a motion every day, in fact health bowel habits can mean that you pass a motion somewhere between 3x a day to 1x every 3 days. What is important to note is that, you should be able to pass a motion with ease and be done and dusted within 5 minutes or less.
Yesterday I spoke of urinary incontinence and today I will cover faecal incontinence
Faecal incontinence refers to leakage from your bowels due to poor bowel control. You may also be suffering from excessive wind or have staining of your underwear.
Risk factors for poor bowel control include:
- Long term straining
- Neurological disorders such as MS and Parkinsons
- Bowel disease such Coeliac and Crohn’s
- Lifestyle- heaving lifting placing undue pressure on pelvic floor musculature
- Severe diarrhoea
- Specific medications
- Weak anus muscles due to aging, surgery, radiotherapy and pregnancy
Faecal incontinence does not necessarily occur in isolation. It can be linked to other health conditions. However in saying that, faecal incontinence can be managed through lifestyle modification in most instances.
Whilst we are discussing bowel motions, lets cover constipation too!
Constipation is when your bowel motions reduce in frequency, volume and/or you have difficulty passing them. Signs that often accompany constipation include pain, cramping, bloating or the feeling of not being completely empty.
Constipation usually occurs because food moves through the digestive system too slowly, allowing a greater time for water to be absorbed from your food. At the end of this process are bowel motions that are hard and dry.
Things that worsen constipation include:
- Not enough fibre
- Not enough fluid
- Not enough exercise
- Delaying the need to relieve yourself
- Long term use of laxatives
- Some medications
- Pregnancy/birth trauma
- Being overweight
- Neurological disorders such as MS and Parkinson's
- Haemorrhoids or fissures
- Some bowel conditions such as IBS and diverticulitis
It is important for you to understand that ongoing constipation can also impact your bladder and pelvic floor function.
If you are ‘backed up’ the contents can press on the bladder, reducing the volume of urine the bladder can hold making you feel the need to go to the toilet often.
Whereas ongoing straining to pass a motion, pregnancy or even heavy lifting can place undue stress on the pelvic floor muscles and rectum potentially weakening them.
So I hear you say, well what should my bowel motions look like? Clinicians will often refer to a type 3 or 4 bowel motion on the Bristol Stool Chart.
I’ll briefly touch on diarrhoea too…but I’m pretty sure you all know what I’m referring to here. But what I will say is, if you are suffering from ongoing unexplained diarrhoea, please consult your doctor.
So hopefully I now have empowered you to better understand your bowel motions. If you have any concerns about your bowels, please do not hesitate to discuss it with your doctor or book in an appointment to see me at HongKong Street.
Have a great day!