What are the Causes of Fecal Incontinence?
According to the CDC, Fecal incontinence affects approximately 5 million American individuals, and is most likely caused from a weakening of the sphincter muscle located in the anus. This causes fecal matter that would normally have been blocked until a bowel movement to leak out. Another cause, which happens to younger adults, is nerve damage. Nerve damage is most commonly the result of straining while going to the bathroom, injury during childbirth, and diabetes complications. Of course the straining and diabetes can be lessened by weight loss and a healthy diet, but other than the cesarean section, natural childbirth can and does lead to incontinence in some rare instances. The other leading causes in seniors are Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and reactions to certain medications. If you or a loved one thinks that there may be some initial signs, or actual signs of incontinence, it is important to see a doctor right away. Some of the reasons for incontinence can be treated and some instances reversed. The quicker the response times to the condition the higher the likelihood of treating it. Also, with incontinence, it can be a sign that there is a more serious problem at hand. With fecal impaction, where a hardened stool gets stuck, the result can be a leakage of the loose stool around it.
So Why Seniors?
A lot of seniors that we work with are very hesitant to try something new—especially a new technology. Even though bidets have been around for a long time, they are much less common in the US than other parts of the world. Many seniors have never tried a bidet and are often initially scared of them. After recommending bidets to many of our clients, we think it is a great choice for those trying to be hygienic. They are very easy to use and can be simply activated by turning a knob.
Why the Bidet?
The bidet can be a wonderful tool for anyone looking to keep clean. It requires a lot less effort than a shower and can also be a lot less irritating than toilet paper. For those who have frequent trips to the bathroom, toilet paper can slowly irritate the area until a wound forms. Also, with people that have hemorrhoids, wiping can be especially painful. In these situations the person may not clean as well as they should have. For seniors, it is difficult to treat a wound in that area because of the constant moisture and irritation. If the wound could be avoided all together, that would be the best situation. Additionally for those who have frequent bowel movements, water is more effective at reducing the spread of bacteria. The bidet is hands free and minimizes the risk of getting fecal matter anywhere other than where it belongs – in the toilet!