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Asking about bowel problems could change your patient’s life

When nurses discuss faecal incontinence they’re really talking about quality of life
Bowel problem picture. Picture: iStock

When nurses discuss faecal incontinence they’re really talking about quality of life

  • NICE suggests that up to 10% of adults are affected by faecal incontinence
  • Many people are too embarrassed to raise the issue of bowel problems, and unaware that there are treatments and management strategies available
  • Nurses in every setting can help patients to access support by first asking ‘do you have a bladder or bowel problem?’

Perhaps it is because it is something that most of us, from toddler upwards, have done alone and behind closed doors, but people are not good at talking about poo. That means that when something goes wrong with our bowels, many of us don’t seek help and, indeed, aren’t even aware of what help is out there.

Yet faecal continence is a relatively common problem – the National

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