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Constipation And Faecal Incontinence In Adults

Constipation And Faecal Incontinence In Adults

There are many reasons why an adult might become constipated or start to suffer from faecal incontinence. As a skilled healthcare professional, it’s important to be able to recognise the signs of bowel problems and how to treat them successfully.

What is constipation?

Constipation is essentially when bowel movements become tough or occur less often than usual. It’s a common scenario that just about everyone will experience occasionally and it’s usually not too serious.

The normal length of time between bowel movements varies a lot from person to person. Some people go several times a day, whereas others go just a couple of times a week. However, three days should be the maximum anyone goes without a bowel movement, as after that the stool is likely to become harder and very difficult to pass. These hard stools can then stretch and weaken the muscles in the rectum over time, causing watery stool to build up behind the hard stool before eventually leaking out.

Why does it occur?

Typically constipation occurs because of a change in diet or eating habits, or because the patient isn’t consuming enough fibre or water. Sometimes it can happen because there’s too much dairy in a patient’s diet, or because they’re not getting plenty of regular exercise. Other times the patient may be resisting the urge to go for some reason, or because they’re stressed or have overused laxatives. Certain medications and eating disorders can also cause constipation, as can pregnancy or illnesses like cancer, Parkinson’s or MS.

Faecal incontinence

Faecal incontinence can also be caused by a number of issues, but it’s more common in those with nerve or bowel damage, as well as the elderly or vulnerable. Some causes of faecal incontinence, such as childbirth by vaginal delivery, happen only in women.

Many patients presenting with either constipation or faecal incontinence are likely to feel embarrassed, so it’s important to reassure them from the outset. It may take a fair amount of discussion and testing before a solution becomes apparent and this can take some time.

Looking to brush up your knowledge around adult constipation and faecal incontinence?

PDUK is pleased to offer our Best practice in assessing & managing constipation & faecal incontinence in adults course. It’s designed specifically for nurses, urologists and other healthcare professionals who often see adults presenting with these symptoms. It’s a two-day course worth 14 hours of CPD and is held at Hamilton House in London on the 11th to the 12th June 2020. It’s a fantastic opportunity to network and hone your skills, and all course material/refreshments are provided. Spaces are limited so make sure you sign up today!

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