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Controlling gas is often the most difficult aspect of bowel control. Most of the suggestions outlined above apply to controlling gas as well as controlling stools, and the same exercises and routines can also be helpful in managing gas. Many people find that diet has a big influence on how much gas your bowel produces and how it smells. Gassy foods vary between individuals, so it is worth experimenting yourself, but it will be impossible to eliminate gas altogether. If your bowel is inflamed, it may be hard to tell the difference between stools and gas. You may find that you have a lot of “false alarms” and run to the toilet when it was only gas, or think you are safe to pass gas but find that you have also passed some loose stools. It is worth mentioning that you will be a lot more aware of your body functions than people are around you. Most people pass gas 10-20 times each day, yet how often do you notice anyone else doing this? In reality, most people are tied up in their own lives and are unlikely to notice your accidental passing of gas. See our page Bloating and Wind for more information about managing gas.
There aren’t that many products designed specifically for fecal (poo) incontinence, but see below some products and tips available which may help you.
Pads and pants – Many pads are designed for urinary (wee) incontinence so people often find them unnecessarily thick and bulky, and not the right shape or length. However, there are some fecal incontinence pads available online and from chemists which may be suitable. These pads can help to contain soiling and prevent the skin from getting sore. For more severe or regular incontinence you can obtain larger pads or specially designed padded pants which will prevent leaks staining clothes. Or you may at least be able to get some free samples from the manufacturer’s website. If you are unable to get free supplies, there are many companies with a mail order service.
Anal plug – This is inserted into the back passage, where it expands to prevent leakage. It can be kept in place for up to 12 hours, though many people find that it is uncomfortable or irritating. It has to be taken out before a bowel movement, so it is not suitable if you have frequent movements. Speak to our IBD team if you are thinking of using an anal plug, as they are not suitable for everyone.
Continence Clinics – If you would like personal help and advice you might like to consider attending a continence clinic. You may be able to refer yourself or you may have to be referred by your doctor or our IBD team. Stoma care companies also often have useful information.
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