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Managing bowel issues

  • By GrannyD

    My husband has had MS for over 20 years and has just recently began having constant bowel issues – either constipated or or running – never a “normal” routine. We’ve had every test available and all we were told is that there are no tumors/lesions causing this and that it is just the MS and we would need to learn how to manage it – well, that is well and good, but I’m at a loss as to how to do that – we’ve changed his diet (which if he loses any more weight, they want to put in a feeding tube) and we’ve had to go to Depends because he cannot control the severity – he isn’t strong enough to get himself cleaned up completely, so on top of all that I already do for him, I have become the butt wiper too. I need to know if anyone else is experiencing this problem and if so, what is there to be done about it?

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  • By Gputt

    Hi GrannyD,
    My hubby was diagnosed with RRMS almost 5 years ago, in addition to the MS he also has Addisons disease.
    He’s had neurogenic bladder for years, and also some fecal incontinence even before the MS diagnosis.
    His neurologist recommended adding fiber to hubby’s diet, to essentially “bulk up” the stool which would in turn stimulate the nerves in the bowel and hopefully regulate him to a more “normal” bowel time and habit. With added fiber you must drink adequate liquid or it’ll just cause constipation.
    While this helped some, my husband still occasionally would have instances where stool just comes out, no warning.
    One thing that seems to have helped him is Ampyra.
    I know it’s considered the “walking drug”, and not marketed to help bowel/bladder issues.
    To our knowledge, there are no formal studies about this, but all we can say is since my hubby started the Ampyra, his incidences of incontinence have decreased by approximately 70%. We can’t say if it’s the Ampyra, the added fiber, or something else.. but just thought we’d let you know our experience.
    Of course like everything else, it’s a subject your hubby, you, and his Drs would need to discuss.
    The other thing we’re considering is hubby seeing a PT. There are PTs who specialize in PFD (pelvic floor dysfunction) and we’re fortunate there is one in a city nearby where we live.
    Sometimes the PFD PT can help issues stemming from MS, sometimes they can’t. But we figured it’s worth a shot.
    Regards,
    K

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