Some people with MS will never experience bowel problems, but constipation and bowel incontinence can affect people at some stage.
Bowel problems can be embarrassing and distressing, but discussing the issue and getting the right support and advice can help.
Constipation is more common in MS than bowel incontinence. The two can be linked, but people who have constipation will not necessarily go on to develop a problem with incontinence, or vice versa.
Researchers know quite a bit about how MS affects the bladder, but much less is known about how MS affects the bowel. MS nerve damage may affect reflexes and voluntary control of muscles.
It’s not always easy to approach the issue of bowel problems with your doctor or nurse, but professional help can help you manage these issues.
Constipation can generally be well managed with certain strategies including a good fluid intake, diet and exercise.
Find out more about managing constipation.
An assessment is generally the first step to managing bowel incontinence. A thorough assessment will help work out if the problem is likely to be MS or other factors, can assess the extent of any nerve or muscle damage and recommend the best treatment for you.
There are steps you can take to help manage bowel problems, including checking your diet and medications and setting up a regular and comfortable routine.
Find out more about managing bowel incontinence.