For most of us, emptying the bowel is nothing to worry about. However, bowel emptying does not work as smoothly for everyone. When this becomes an issue, by either spending too long time on the toilet or with bowel leakage, transanal irrigation (TAI) may be a treatment option.
A rectal catheter with a balloon, or a cone catheter (without balloon) is inserted into the rectum. The balloon is inflated in the rectum and holds the catheter in place while the water is instilled. This initiates the bowel movements (peristalsis), that moves the stool towards the rectum. When the water is instilled and the catheter is removed, the bowel can be emptied. The procedure is carried out on the toilet.
Performing this procedure regularly will empty the bowel effectively, and the bowel will remain empty until the next irrigation. This will allow you to choose time and place to empty your bowel. You regain control and the independence to live the life you prefer and without being afraid of having a bowel accident.
Treatment with TAI is an option when other treatments like medications and restrictions in diet and fluids have not helped. The health care professional always makes the final decision as to whether TAI is suitable for you.
The factors in succeeding with TAI are:
Be prepared and give yourself time to adapt to the new routines. Set a realistic timeframe. It may take up to 12 weeks to find the optimal irrigation routine and have a satisfying outcome for you. When the initiation period is over and you have found a routine that works for you, it may suffice to irrigate every other day, but this is highly individual.
Your body will have to adapt to the treatment. Have patience, and it will be worth it.
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