Wait…I can leak there too?!
A brief look into Bowel Incontinence
Introducing Mrs X, a vibrant 52-year-old woman.
She is a mother to three children: Two college bound children struggling to make their academics work whilst at home as well as her eldest child (a certified psychologist) who has made our lovely Mrs X a grandmother to a set of identical twin girls, currently in their toddler stage. She has been married to her high school sweetheart for over 34 years. He is a retired lecturer and self-proclaimed handyman while she spends her days as an accountant for a well-established law firm. When she isn’t crunching numbers, she tends to spend her time painting, reading some good old romance novels and enjoying some coffee or wine over a Zoom chat with friends. She feels that she has accomplished quite a bit and is relatively content with her life.
A few weeks later, under lockdown stage 3, she is playing with her grandchildren in the garden. They are having so much fun and their laughter can be heard for miles. As she picks up one of the twins, she experiences a small and sudden release, courtesy of her bowels. You should know, Mrs X has never really noticed this type of accident before. Yes, she has had children and can feel the difference in terms of how she breathes, how she feels during intercourse as well as how she tends to pee, but never through her bottom.
You see it is in all the details that she missed the devil. All of the above-mentioned indications could all potentially be connected to her current situation. She ignores it and thinks it is a once-off occurrence because of strenuous activity… until it happens again, just as she doses off to sleep in her bed. The occurrence becomes more frequent and she doesn’t feel like herself anymore. She finds it hard to function without wearing a nappy or padding in her underwear because she fears she may wet herself. She cannot bear to look at herself in the mirror and doesn’t find her life to be fulfilling anymore. She feels relatively hopeless and doesn’t see a way forward.
Why am I sharing this story?
Let’s talk about Faecal Incontinence for a few minutes. This is a condition that affects not only women, but men, children and non-binary bodies. It can vary between having anorectal tightness (constipation as an example) versus weakness (excessive or possibly consistent diarrhoea).
It can be as a result of anything, among others, ranging from:
Post-surgical complications (such as possible nerve injury);
History of multiple births creating changes in the state of the pelvic floor;
Hormone replacement therapy; and
Stomach health related conditions such as IBS, cancer etc.
With the focus on women’s health, this tends to be a plaguing issue which can affect overall quality of life. Having just met Mrs X, we can see and understand that her life is completely altered by something she feels she can no longer control. Many people aren’t aware that physiotherapists can assist with these issues and multiple other pelvic health related issues that will be discussed in the future.
Should you identify with Mrs X or feel as if you know someone similar to her, let this be the time to sit down, have the conversation and make the decision to improve life. Let’s get the BS out of the way in order to aid those around us…I may not have a personal experience associated with this, but I for one, can tell you that to have this occur, can decrease your quality of life and the way you function. It is not something to be ashamed of; however, it is good to know that there is assistance out there.
Physiotherapy and those specialising within the realm of pelvic health can assist you with information and create awareness of your condition, pelvic health and provide you with a way forward in order to get you feeling like you’ve got your “groove” back. We can assist, by using a multi- disciplinary approach to empower you and make you aware of everything you weren’t so aware of.
Let us help you! Book an appointment now at Christiaan Moolman Physiotherapy Inc.