When Neurological Disorders Cause ABL

Having a disease that affects the nervous system can cause ABL. 
Over 5.5 million Americans have bowel incontinence leading to light to moderate accidental bowel leakage (ABL). People of all ages and both sexes are affected by ABL, although it is more common among elderly individuals, and in women. There are many causes, from weakened muscles to improperly functioning sphincters. Having a disease that affects the nervous system, such as Diabetes, Parkinson’s or MS can be a contributing factor to ABL. 

In a normally functioning bowel the rectum will stretch to hold stool or gas, and the person will feel this, and then have time to get to the bathroom and empty the rectum. If a person is suffering a neurological disorder, they may not have normal sensation in the rectum. Thus, they will not be able to sense that gas or stool has entered into the rectum and therefore have no or insufficient warning to go to the bathroom. Thus, they may leak stool or gas, or fluid from the rectum.

Not being able to sense the need to defecate can be very frustrating and embarrassing, and often individuals who have ABL do not want to talk to their doctor, or seek any kind of treatment or management. They may have erroneous beliefs that their problems can’t be fixed, or they may be too embarrassed to bring them up.

Even with neurological disorders, there are some treatment options available to help with awareness, or to reduce the number of accidents and leaks. For example, an individual could do bowel training, where they train their bowels to defecate on a schedule. This makes it easier to regain some control, and feel confident leaving the house.

Bowel Training is great for those with lack of sphincter control or low urge awareness. This treatment option can also include exercises to strengthen vital muscles for bowel control.

Another potential option is sacral nerve stimulation. This is where four to six small needles are positioned in the muscles of the lower bowel. The muscles are stimulated by an external pulse generator with tiny electrical pulses. If this treatment works, a permanent pulse generator can be implanted under the skin of the patient's buttock (Like a pacemaker), and stimulate the bowel.

The best way to determine a viable treatment option is to talk to your doctor about ABL. And while seeking treatment, and living with the symptoms of ABL, find the right tools and products for management.

Choosing the right absorbent product can be challenging as there are many options. Some are bulky and function as an adult diaper. Others are more discreet and offer protection for the individual on the go.

An option those with light to moderate ABL should consider is the B-Sure Absorbent Pad. It offers a unique butterfly design that fits between the cheeks of the buttocks, in a comfortable way that does not require adhesive. It can hold up to 13 times its weight in fluid, and is a discreet, affordable, means of protection.

If you, or someone you know is suffering from a neurological disorder that is causing ABL, seek treatment, and look for management solutions to help retain as much normalcy, dignity, and confidence as possible.

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visithttp://www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


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