Bowel dysfunction is a condition that can have many different causes. A child can have a bowel dysfunction as a result of birth anomaly such as spina bifida or anorectal malformation, or it can be developed as a result of injury or illness, like a spinal cord injury.
Bowel dysfunction often results in constipation, fecal incontinence and/or pooing problems. It is not uncommon to suffer from these disorders all at the same time. Constipation is very common if you have bowel dysfunction. Constipation is characterized by infrequent and irregular bowel movements, resulting in hard, dry poo, which are difficult to pass. Fecal incontinence is another common problem for children with bowel dysfunction. It causes involuntary release of poo.
How does bowel dysfunction affect life?
Living with bowel dysfunction can be difficult. Children with bowel dysfunction may experience pain, bloating, loss of appetite and also soiling many times a day. Resulting in emotional upset, embarrassment and social insecurity.
Many parents devote a lot of time trying to find the right treatment for their child. Every new failed attempt can be emotionally draining and lead to a feeling of hopelessness. Above this, there may be siblings that also crave and deserve attention.
Meet the Experts in Bowel Management for Children
To dig deeper into life with bowel dysfunction we turned to the Paediatric Stoma Nurse Group (PSNG). This is a group of really specialized and experienced stoma nurses in the UK and Ireland. We asked them to share their stories and learnings from their meetings with hundreds of patients over the years.
The first film is about life with bowel dysfunction, before finding a working therapy. Watch the next film from our expert series here.