Fecal incontinence is a relatively widespread problem among older adults. The fact is that specifically ascertaining how many older people suffer from fecal incontinence is challenging. Fecal incontinence is a medical condition that is embarrassing to those people that suffer from it. As a result, those who suffer from this condition oftentimes try to hide the fact that they suffer from fecal incontinence. If you have an elderly loved one, or another family member of any age, that suffers from fecal incontinence, you may find yourself involved in ensuring that their living environments remain clean and wholesome. In that process, you also need to do your best to protect the dignity of a loved one suffering from fecal incontinence.
Overview of Fecal Incontinence
Fecal incontinence is the accidental passing of bowel movements, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. This can include solid stools, liquid stools, or mucus.
The most common types of fecal incontinence is what is known as urge incontinence. Urge incontinence occurs when a person experiences a strong and sudden urge to have a bowel movement. When this occurs, a person is unable to reach a toilet in time to evacuate. A person can’t stop the bowel movement from happening.
Another type of fecal incontinence is called passive incontinence. Passive incontinence occurs when a person has bowel leakage or stool discharge without knowing it. A person suffering from this type of incontinence may be unable to sense that the individual’s rectum is full.
As noted previously, and is worth stressing again, fecal incontinence can be embarrassing and upsetting. It can result in people feeling ashamed. A person in such a position may try to hide the problem.
How Common Is Fecal Incontinence?
We’ve already discussed that ascertaining exactly how many people suffer from fecal incontinence is challenging, if not virtually impossible. What we do know is this:
- Medical experts report that about one in three people that see a primary care physician with regularity suffer from fecal incontinence.
- There is a considerable segment of the population that does not see a primary care physician with regularity, leaving an unknown segment of the population likely suffering from untreated fecal incontinence.
- Fecal incontinence is more common among older people.
- Among hospitalized adults, somewhere between seven and 16 out of 100 people have fecal incontinence.
- Among adults in nursing homes, somewhere between 50 and 70 out of 100 people have fecal incontinence.
- Among adults not in a nursing home, somewhere between 18 and 33 out of 100 people have fecal incontinence.
Common Underlying Health Issues That Contribute To Fecal Incontinence
There are a number of more common underlying conditions that can result in fecal incontinence. These include:
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- Diseases that affect the nerves of the rectum, anus, or pelvic floor
- Damage or weakness to the muscles of the rectum, anus, or pelvic floor
- Urinary incontinence
Problems Caused by Fecal Incontinence
Fecal incontinence can result in an array of other issues. These include:
- Discomfort or irritation of the skin near and around the area of a person’s anus
- Emotional and social distress: embarrassment, fear, social isolation, loss of self-esteem, anger, and depression
- Quality of life issues: avoiding social gatherings, inability to exercise, reluctance to exercise, and limitations on working
Hidden World of a Person With Fecal Incontinence
As was alluded to previously, a considerable segment of the population who suffer from fecal incontinence strive mightily to conceal their difficulties. Ultimately, this can result in a person with fecal incontinence becoming secluded in his or her home. They can end up in a position in which they avoid other people.
They also keep people out of their homes, including their closest family members. This happens because in many instances a person with fecal incontinence ends up with a residence contaminated with feces. Because a person with fecal incontinence is apt to be older or suffering from other health issues, that individual may not have the wherewithal to keep his or her some clean and free from fecal contamination.
Professional Feces Cleanup and Sanitization
There are biohazard remediation companies that have experienced, compassionate professional specialists capable of effectively cleaning and sanitizing a home or other location contaminated by feces. They are able to undertake these services in a manner that respects the privacy and dignity of an individual who is dealing with fecal incontinence and everything that can go along with this condition.
Protecting a Person’s Dignity on Different Levels
There are a number of areas in which attention must be paid to protecting a person’s dignity when it comes to an individual afflicted with fecal incontinence. These are:
- If you learn or recognize that a loved one is afflicted with fecal incontinence, you need to take care not to shame an individual when you reach out to assist or support that person. You do not want to put them on the spot, you do not want to be accusatory.
- You also need to take care to protect a person’s dignity if you intend to assist your family member or other loved one in seeking professional assistance to undertake feces cleanup and sanitization. This important necessity demands that you aid your loved one in finding a feces cleanup specialist that is not only technically proficient but is also compassionate, caring, and understanding.