A notable percentage of older people develop what medically is known as elderly bowel incontinence. If you’re the child or caretaker of an older person, you need to have a basic understanding of elderly bowel incontinence, it’s causes, and the impact it can have on an older person’s life generally and living space specifically. Bowel incontinence is also known as accidental bowel leakage.

Common Causes of Elderly Bowel Incontinence

The most common causes of elderly bowel incontinence include:

  • Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Minimally invasive procedures
  • Infection
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Diarrhea
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Chron’s disease
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Diabetes
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Radiation treatment
  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Other types of cognitive impairment

Tests to Determine Underlying Cause of Bowel Incontinence

Determining a course of treatment for elderly bowel incontinence depends upon a determination of what causes the condition in the first instance. There exist a number of different types of medical tests:

  • Stool testing
  • Endoscopy
  • Anorectal manometry
  • Endosonography
  • Nerve tests
  • MRI defecography

Treatments for Elderly Bowel Incontinence

Elderly bowel incontinence sometimes is a treatable condition. In other words, there are types of bowel incontinence that can be controlled through certain treatments. Although there are types of elderly bowel incontinence that can be treated and even resolved completely, there are types which will persist and cannot be “cured.” (Bowel incontinence arising from Alzheimer’s disease, other types or dementia, or other types of cognitive impairments usually cannot be treated let alone resolved.) Possible treatments for elderly bowel incontinence include:

Diet: In some cases, dietary intervention or changes can assist in resolving elderly bowel incontinence. Examples of dietary recommendations designed to address bowel incontinence include increasing the amount of water consumed daily (to prevent constipation). Another course of dietary treatment is eliminating caffeine from a diet. In addition, a dietary strategy is to eat between 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day.

Medication: There are a trio of medications that have proven helpful in controlling elderly bowel incontinence, at least to some degree. These are:

  • Imodium
  • Lomotil
  • Hyoscyamine

Exercise: Exercise has also been demonstrated effective at controlling elderly bowel incompetence. Kegel exercises are commonly used to develop muscles to control urinary flow. These same exercises build the strength of pelvic muscles which can result in a reduction of bowel incontinence.

Bowel Training: Scheduling specific times for bowel movements can be helpful in preventing dreadful accidents.

Biofeedback: Biofeedback involves the placement of a sensor inside a person’s anus and on the abdominal wall. This permits a person the ability to receive feedback whilst doing exercises to improve overall bowel control.

Surgery: Surgery may be recommended to address elderly bowel incontinence when the noninvasive treatments presented thus far do not work. The types of surgery utilized to address bowel incontinence are:

  • Sphincter surgery
  • Sacral nerve stimulator
  • Sphincter cuff device
  • Colostomy
  • Radiofrequency anal sphincter remodeling
  • Injectable biomaterials

Addressing Bowel Incontinence in an Elderly Person’s Residence

In addition to the physical impact of bowel incontinence, the condition also impacts an elderly person’s residence. Because of an inability to control bowel movements, an elderly person’s home can face issues where human feces end up in locations away from the toilet. A bathroom can end up contaminated with feces but so can other areas in an older person’s residence.

As mentioned previously, children of an elderly person oftentimes bear responsibility for addressing cleaning up feces of their mother or father suffering from some type of bowel incontinence. In many cases, an adult child learns of the situation in a parent’s home after a mother or father is taken to the hospital for some sort of medical issue.

Not only can this be a physically and technically challenging endeavor, but there is an emotional element to it as well. Moreover, human feces by definition contain what technically are known as dangerous pathogens. These are viruses and bacteria that can be transmitted from one person to another through exposure to human feces, including those of a beloved parent.

An adult child, uncontrolled bowel movement cleanup in a parent’s home can be a truly daunting task. With that said, an adult child has another available option when it comes to uncontrolled bowel movement or feces cleanup in the home of a parent.

A reputable, compassionate, truly understanding biohazard cleanup company can assist an adult child in safely and thoroughly restoring order to a parent’s home when a situation arises as the result of elderly bowel incontinence.

A professional feces cleanup company ensures that waste completely is eliminated from an older person’s home. In addition, a professional specialist utilizes medical-grade sanitization agents to ensure that a parent’s home is a healthy, sanitary environment. In addition, a professional human waste cleanup company undertakes deodorization of the residence. The objective is to restore a parent’s home to a fully livable condition on all fronts.


Emily Kil

Co-Owner of Eco Bear Biohazard Cleaning Company

Together with her husband, Emily Kil is co-owner of Eco Bear, a leading biohazard remediation company in Southern California. An experienced entrepreneur, Emily assisted in founding Eco Bear as a means of combining her business experience with her desire to provide assistance to people facing challenging circumstances. Emily regularly writes about her first-hand experiences providing services like biohazard cleanup, suicide cleanup, crime scene cleanup, unattended death cleanup, and other types of difficult remediations in homes and businesses.