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What is TAI?

Emptying the bowel is not a concern for most of us. However, bowel emptying does not work smoothly for everyone. When this becomes an issue, by either spending too long time on the toilet or with bowel leakage, transanal irrigation (TAI) may be a treatment option.

How does that work?

A rectal catheter with a balloon or a cone catheter (without balloon) is inserted into the rectum. The balloon is inflated in the rectum and holds the catheter in place while the water is instilled. This initiates the bowel movements (peristalsis) towards the rectum. When the water is instilled and the catheter is removed, the bowel can be emptied. The procedure is carried out on the toilet. 

Performing this procedure regularly will empty the bowel effectively, and the bowel will remain empty until the next irrigation. This will allow you to choose time and place to empty your bowel. You regain control and the independence to live the life you preferand without being afraid of having a bowel accident.

Who is it for?

Treatment with TAI is an option when other treatments like medications and restrictions in diet and fluids have not helped. The health care professional always makes the final decision as to whether TAI is suitable for you.

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Succeed with TAI

The factors in succeeding with TAI are:

  • Motivation
  • Realistic expectations
  • Allowing time for learning and adapting (the initiation period)

Be prepared and give yourself time to adapt to the new routines. Set a realistic time frame. It may take up to 12 weeks to find  the optimal irrigation routine and have a satisfying outcome for you. When the initiation period is over and you have found a routine that works for you, it may suffice to irrigate every other day, but this is highly individual. 

Your body will have to adapt to the treatment. Have patience, and it will be worth it.