Fecal Incontinence and Multiple Sclerosis

Nearly two-thirds of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients have at least one gastrointestinal issue that persists for six months or more, according to the Pittsburgh Institute for Multiple Sclerosis Care and Research (PIMSCAR). The most common problems include heartburn, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and fecal incontinence.  

Fecal incontinence refers to impairment in the ability to retain fecal material in the rectum, the University of Pittsburgh institute said. Patients with MS of any age are twice as likely as those over age 50 not diagnosed with MS to experience fecal incontinence. This is most likely due to MS-related impairments in rectal and anal sensation and motor function of pelvic floor muscles. 

To improve fecal incontinence, experts say those with MS could improve the form of their stools. Bulking up liquid stools and reducing stool frequency is helpful. Physical therapy also potentially might improve pelvic muscle strength and combat incontinence, the University of Pittsburgh institute said. 

For more information, go to PIMSCAR

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