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Bowel Dysfunction

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In this article

Overview

Bowel symptoms can occur in people with MS with constipation being the most common. Constipation is important to manage because it can increase other symptoms including:

The psychosocial implications for bowel dysfunction are:

  • Discomfort
  • Embarrassment
  • Society isolation
  • Fear of loss of control
  • Anxiety about leaving the house, being around other people

 

Symptom: Constipation

Treatment

  • Bowel training; adequate fluid intake; high-fiber diet; physical activity
  • Polyethylene glycol, psyllium, docusate, bisacodyl

Symptom: Fecal impaction

Treatment

  • Manual disimpaction

Symptom: Diarrhea

Diarrhea is not usually associated with MS. Other causes need to be considered.

Treatment

  • Disimpaction and relief of constipation
  • Added fiber

Symptom: Fecal incontinence

Treatment

  • Bowel training program
  • Anticholinergic medication (for hyperreflexic bowel)
  • Antidiarrheal medication

Resources for clinicians

Resources for patients

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