Prevention

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  • In addition to medical therapies, there are some steps that patients can take to help prevent incontinence:

    • Avoid foods and drinks that may cause loose or more frequent stools, which can worsen fecal incontinence. These include dairy products (for patients who are lactose intolerant), spicy foods, fatty or greasy foods, caffeinated beverages, diet foods or drinks, sugar-free gum, and alcohol.
    • Eat smaller more frequent meals. In some people, eating a large meal will trigger the urge to have a bowel movement, and sometimes cause diarrhea. Eating smaller and more frequent meals can reduce the frequency of bowel movements.
    • Increase fiber. Fiber increases stool bulk and often improves the consistency of stool. The recommend daily intake of fiber is 25 to 30 grams. Patients should gradually increase the amount of fiber eaten over a few weeks to reduce the possibility of bloating and gas.
    • Try to establish a bowel regimen or routine in which you have a bowel movement around the same time of the day. In this fashion you can plan ahead and make sure you are close to a toilet. If you have plans to go out for the day or night, you might want to eat early as many have a bowel movement following a large meal. Some patients empty themselves with a gentle enema and use an over the counter anti-diarrhea medication if they have an important function to attend.

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