How Multiple Sclerosis affects the bowel

These short films answer common questions asked by people with MS about bowel dysfunction.

The aim of the films is to spread knowledge and education that may help in the management of bowel dysfunction.

You will hear about:

  • How the body works
  • Constipation, fecal incontinence, and quality of life
  • Conservative bowel management such as diet, fluids, activity, and enemas
  • Bowel management with transanal irrigation and anal inserts

Bowel dysfunction

Bowel dysfunction in MS is common and it is important to know how the bowel works. This short film describes the normal function of the bowel, stool consistency, transit time, and neurogenic bowel dysfunction (NBD).


Constipation is usually due to longer transit in the bowel in MS patients and fecal incontinence can be caused by several issues such as overflow due to constipation or loss of sphincter function. Bowel dysfunction has a highly negative impact on quality of life and could cause depression.

Bowel management strategies

In this film strategies and suggestions on how to manage bowel in people with MS are discussed. Bowel issues may have been present before the diagnosis of MS. Conservative methods are usually preferred at the start and the film discusses diet, fluid activity, and mobility to see the possibility to be active. Some people may need to take laxatives to help bulk the stool or stimulate bowel movement.