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Bowel Incontinence

Bowel Incontinence

Bowel incontinence is an inability to control bowel movements, resulting in involuntary soiling. This is faecal incontinence or bowel incontinence. The experience of bowel incontinence can vary from person to person. Some people feel a sudden need to go to the toilet but are unable to reach a toilet in time. 

Other people experience no sensation before soiling themselves, known as passive incontinence or passive soiling. Some experience a slight soiling when passing wind.

Some people experience incontinence on a daily basis, whereas for others it only happens from time to time. The effect is debilitating and difficult to live with particularly when dealing with a new born baby. Bowel Incontinence

Obstetric anal sphincter injury suffered during vaginal delivery increases a woman’s risk of developing anal incontinence or bowel incontinence. Obstetric anal sphincter injuries (OASIS) belong to dreaded complications after vaginal delivery. The most common difficulties are perineal pain, dyspareunia, flatulence and anal incontinence.

Perineal tears of 3rd and 4th degree are the more likely cause when having a vaginal birth. When a woman has an instrumental delivery the risk of OASIS was higher and thus the likelihood of bowel incontinence. Missed obstetric anal sphincter injury at delivery had worse functional and quality of life outcomes than primary repair immediately following delivery. In the short-term, patients with a missed obstetric anal sphincter injury had significantly worse faecal incontinence and urinary function scores.

The anal sphincter may become weak either from direct damage to the muscle or from damage to the nerves that cause the muscle to contract normally. Damage to muscles can be caused by childbirth as well as rectal surgery.

Effects of Bowel Incontinence

We act for women and men who have bowel incontinence due to childbirth injury or rectal surgery. Waking in the night in a puddle of diarrhoea, losing weight, pain in the rectum, leaking daily and needing to wear pads, constant washing, the feeling of not completely emptying and the feeling of being ‘dirty’. The social embarrassment causes significant psychological issues. Being stuck at home often unable to work due to the unpredictability of the bowel incontinence leads to financial difficulties and depression. It is not an easy thing to explain to people, so many people lose friends. Often relationships break down as having a sexual relationship is difficult, if not impossible, to maintain. Many feel desperately alone and sad.

What you can do

If you believe that you have suffered with bowel incontinence due to childbirth or rectal surgery then get in touch today. We are experienced in bowel incontinence issues and can help you get the answers you need as well as bring your claim on a no win no fee basis. Call us on 0800 470 2009 or email Dr Victoria Handley at vhandley@handleylaw.co.uk today.


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