Who to see
If you have bowel continence problems there are professionals you can talk to and continence services that will give you help, advice, diagnosis and treatment.
Ordinarily, your general practice or healthcare centre will be the first place to go to. You can talk to your family doctor or practice nurse about any bowel control problems.
Women can talk to a gynaecologist about exercises to help the pelvic floor and maintaining good bowel control, especially during pregnancy and after childbirth.
If you need a home visit, your general practice can send a healthcare professional, such as your GP or a community nurse.
During this first visit your symptoms will be assessed.
If you are experiencing mild symptoms your GP or nurse practitioner may offer treatment which could include diet, exercises and/or medications.
Referrals for bowel incontinence
You may be referred to a physiotherapist or continence care clinic where a specialist healthcare professional will assess your symptoms and help you with treatments for bowel incontinence. This could be a specialist physiotherapist or a Continence nurse advisor.
If you're pregnant or have a pregnancy-related problem, you might be referred to a gynaecologist or obstetrician.
If your problem stems from your gut itself, your doctor will send you to a gastroenterologist.
If you require surgery, you'll see a surgeon such as a colorectal surgeon.
Overview of specialties
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General Practice/family doctor
Nursing and continence care
Continence nurses and colorectal nurse specialists work both in hospitals and community and can do assessments and provide help with diet, exercise and some treatments.
Exercise and Diet
Physiotherapists and specialist physiotherapists are people who can help with specific exercises for the pelvic muscles and with advice on daily exercise routines.
Dietitians and nutritionists can give specialist and general diet and nutrition advice and plans to help resolve bowel incontinence.
Pregnancy and childbirth, gynaecology
Women will see a gynaecologist and obstetrician during their pregnancy, both of whom can help with continence care advice and assessment.
Specialist healthcare professionals
Bowel Incontinence specialties include gastroenterology, proctology and colorectal surgery.