The bowel might cause a problem for most of us now and then, but we usually feel better after a few days. For others, the problems are persistent. Living with bowel problems is challenging and may impose restrictions on quality of life, such as having a social life or just going to work. At the same time, it is also difficult to talk about. However, it is important to discuss these problems and seek help.
With support and the right treatment, you can get your life back. Bowel problems may be anything from chronic constipation to spending hours in the bathroom due to a lack of bowel control where fecal incontinence may cause bowel accidents. It can also be a combination of both.
Constipation is a common health problem characterized by infrequent and irregular bowel movements, resulting in hard, dry stools, which are difficult to pass. This might cause severe stomachaches, bloating, discomfort and longer periods spent on the toilet trying to pass stool.
Fecal incontinence is another common condition, affecting as much as 10% of the general adult population. Fecal incontinence means involuntary loss of gas, liquid or solid stool resulting in bowel accidents. This may be deeply distressing, causing hygiene issues and limiting social interactions.
The underlying causes of bowel symptoms may vary. Neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD) is when the cause is neurogenic, i.e. a disease or injury of the central nervous system or peripheral nerves involved in the control of bowel emptying
Other conditions, which may lead to bowel dysfunction are:
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