Restore Your Freedom

Disorders of the pelvic floor are common with sufferers experiencing a loss of freedom and control

Medicines for bowel incontinence

There are many medicines for bowel incontinence: some are only available from a doctor. Here is a selection.

What medicines are available for bowel incontinence?

Only by talking to your healthcare professional or doctor will you know what medicines will help your condition.

Discuss any issues and side effects with your healthcare professional before starting medication and throughout the period you take it. If something isn't working well for you, there may be alternatives available.

Anti-diarrhoeal medicines

There are lots of different drugs to treat diarrhoea, ranging from antibiotics to anti-motility drugs.

Antibiotics treat bacterial infection.

Anti-motility drugs reduce the frequency of bowel movements by slowing down the pace of fluids going through the bowel. There are several drug preparations.

Your doctor or healthcare professional may also recommend you take fibre supplements to bulk up the stool.

As well as other helpful effects, some medicines may also increase the pressure in the anal canal, which then prevents leakage.1 The anti-motility drug loperamide is one such example that's thought to enhance anal canal pressure.

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Laxatives are used to stimulate the colon to push stool out. These medicines are usually taken orally.

Stool softening laxatives mix fluid into the stool.

Saline-based laxatives draw fluid into the bowel from the surrounding area to help soften the stool.

Some medications add bulk and water to stool which makes it bigger and triggers contractions in the bowel. Others add lubricating coating to the stool.

Stimulant laxatives encourage contractions in the bowels to move stool.

Glycerin suppositories coat the inside of the anus to make it easier to pass stool.

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Inflammatory bowel disease and medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome

Drug treatment for inflammatory bowel disease involves medications such as steroids and immunosuppressant drugs which can decrease inflammation.

Medically diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome might be alleviated by anti-spasmodic drugs. These may also help to decrease the tension in the colon, alleviate pain and bloating.

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  1. Cheetham, M.J, et al, Topical phenylephrine increases anal canal resting pressure in patients with faecal incontinence. Gut 2001; 48; 356-259. Committee 18. Bliss, D.Z. et al. (Chair: Norton, C., Whitehead, W.E.) Conservative and Pharmacological Management of Faecal Incontinence in Adults. Third International Consultation on Incontinence 2004: Monaco; vol II: Chapter 24; p1545.

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