I receive many email inquiries about bowel problems, mainly constipation and irritable bowel.
I wrote a book called The Urinary Incontinence Sourcebook that is a comprehensive review of bladder and bowel problems. It contains basic physiological information on the normal functions of the bowels, bladder and urinary tract as well as information on assessment and what to ask your doctor about your urinary incontinence or bowel problems.
The book goes into detail about effective assessment, treatment, and management options, namely dietary modification, behavior modification, pelvic muscle exercises, avoiding bladder irritants; medications, surgical treatments and available devices, catheters and other products.
The following is the chapter on Bowel Irregularity.
- Anatomy of the large intestine
- Chronic Constipation
- Children and Constipation
- Treatment for Constipation
- Tips for Preventing Constipation
- "Special Bran Recipe"
- Treatment for Diarrhea
- Fecal Impaction
- Bowel Incontinence
Control of urinary incontinence is linked to your bowels. The regularity or irregularity of your bowels has an impact on your bladder and its ability to empty. Many people, especially as they age, tend to be "bowel obsessive." Every year, Americans spend $725 million on laxatives -- drugs to make their bowels move. An integral part of an incontinence history includes a review of a person's bowels and his or her bowel habits. The articles on bowel problems (above) will discuss common dysfunctions that many persons with urinary incontinence may experience: constipation, diarrhea, fecal impaction and fecal incontinence (bowel incontinence).
Behm, R.M. (1985) A Special Recipe to Banish Constipation. Geriatric Nursing. 6(4):216-217.
Badiali, D., Corazziari, E., Habib, FI., Tomei, E., et. al. (1995) Effect of Wheat bran in treatment of chronic nonorganic constipation - A double-blinded controlled trial. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. 40(2): 349-356.
Benton, JM., O'Harra, PA., Chen, H., Harper, DW., Johnston, SF., (1997) Changing bowel hygiene practice successfully: A program to reduce laxative use in a chronic care hospital. Geriatric Nursing. 18(1)12-17.
Beverley, L, Travis, I. (1992) Constipation - Proposed Natural Laxative Mixtures. Journal of Gerontological Nursing. 18(10):5-12.
Chassagne, P., Landrin, I., Neveu, C., Czernichow, P., et.al. (1999) Fecal Incontinence in the institutionalized elderly: incidence, risk factors, and prognosis. The American Journal of Medicine. Feb 106:185-190.
Chiang L., Ouslander J., Schnelle J., Reuben, D. (2000) Dually incontinent nursing home residents: Clinical characteristics and treatment differences. J Am Geriatr Soc. 48(6): 673-676.
Doughty, D. (1996) Physiologic Approach to Bowel Training. JWOCN. 23(1): 46-56.
Howard, LV., West D, Ossip Klein DJ. Chronic constipation management for institutionalized older adults. Geriatric Nursing. 21(2): 78-82.
Jackson S., Weber A., Hull AT., Mitchinson A., Walters M. (1997) Fecal Incontinence in women with urinary incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse. Obstet Gynecol. 89(3): 423-427.
Jensen, L. (1997) Fecal Incontinence: Evaluation and Treatment. JWOCN. Sept 24(5):277-282.
Jensen, LL. (2000) Assessing and treating patients with complex fecal incontinence. OstomyWound Management. December 46(12): 56-60.
Johanson, JF., (1998) Geographic distribution of constipation in the United States. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 93(2): 188-191.
Ko, CY., Tong, J., Lehman, RE, et. al. (1997) Biofeedback is effective therapy for fecal incontinence and constipation. Arch Surg. 132:829-834.
Kumar, D., Bartolo, DCC., Devroede, G., Kamm, MA., Keighley, MRB., et. al. (1992) Symposium on constipation. International Journal of Colorectal Disease. 7:47-67.
Nelson R., Norton N., Cautley E., Furner S. Community-based prevalence of anal incontinence. JAMA. 1995; 274(7): 559-561.
Patamkar, SK, Ferrara, A., Levy, JR, Williamson, PR, Perozo, SE, (1997) Biofeedback in colorectal practice: a multicenter statewide, three-year experience. Diseases Colon Rectum. 1997;40:827-831.
Poulton, B., Thomas, S. (1999) The Nursing Coat of Constipation. Primary Health Care. November, 9(9):17-20.
Smith DA, Newman DK. (1989) The bran solution. Contemporary Long Term Care. 12:66.
Venn MR, Taft L, Carpentier B, Applebaugh G. (1992) The influence of timing and suppository use on efficiency and effectiveness of bowel training after stroke. Rehabilitation Nursing. May-June 17(3): 116-120.
Posted October 2007
Updated June 2014