No bowel control

My Mom is 61, diabetic and a PD patient for almost 1 yr now. Since March she has had no control of her bowels. Its not that it is diarrea its that there is no control there anymore. It came on very suddenly and in talking with her doctors we have played around with her meds to see if they may have been the cause but no luck. Wondering if anyone has had similar experience or can shed any advice. Thanks.

Hi Kandi,

If you do a search of the message boards on Home Dialysis Central for “bowels”, you can find some useful info. There was a thread about a similar problem in June, that you can read at:

Bowel problems can be linked to diabetes, but PD can raise intraabdominal pressure, which can make the problem worse. I did a search of the published medical literature on diabetes and fecal incontinence, and found a few things:
– Fecal incontinence occurs in as many as 22% of people with diabetes, because neuropathy (nerve damage) can reduce muscle control, including key muscles in the pelvic floor
– Age, multiple medical problems, and taking multiple drugs, are all factors
– Good blood sugar control may help, as may biofeedback, and possibly surgery

One study said, “Evaluation of the patient with fecal incontinence includes a directed history and physical examination, with particular attention paid to integrity of the perineum and rectum, and a complete neurologic evaluation. Diagnostic tools such as stool studies, anorectal manometry, defecography, electromyography, pudendal nerve conduction, and endoanal ultrasound may be employed in an outpatient setting. Fecal incontinence may be treated conservatively by employing such methods as dietary restriction, stool bulking agents, and biofeedback. Surgery may be the best option for cases refractory to medical treatment, or for those patients with rectocele or obstetrical injury.”

If your mom hasn’t had this sort of a workup, you might start by seeing if she could get a referral to a neurologist.

Unfortunately, I’ve had to use diapers at the moment.

Hi Josh,

Has your doctor made efforts to figure out what is causing this problem for you? Diapers are not a solution, only a coping mechanism, and obviously not a preferable one. Most often, this problem can be addressed in one way or another. Don’t rest until you find out what can be done to help you.

Here’s a government website that has information on common causes, medications (those that contribute to bowel incontinence and those that can help), dietary issues, multiple treatments that can be used to reduce or eliminate the problem of bowel incontinence, questions the doctor may ask to evaluate the problem, and tests that may be needed.

A gastroenterologist may be able to evaluate the cause of bowel incontinence and suggest what treatment(s) might be most successful.