This may seem like a really tasteless topic for an article. But it is an unwelcome reality faced by many people who have Multiple Sclerosis. It is probably seldom discussed because personal toilet habits are, generally, regard as taboo subjects.
Difficulty defecating in MS is different to general constipation, I believe. Constipation is brought about by a diet low in fibre or roughage, producing hard stools which are difficult to pass. In MS it is a lack of muscle control that causes the ineffectual bowel movements.
In an earlier article I discussed the urinary problems brought about by the same lack of muscle control when the bladder muscle and urinary sphincter cannot be adequately controlled.
Problem with bowel movement are caused in a similar manner by poor muscle control around the colon and inability to correctly release the anal sphincter. If the anal sphincter is in spasm and cannot be eased then excrement cannot be expelled despite the best efforts to evacuate the bowel. If muscle control is lacking then the individual is unable to ‘push’ to facilitate the bowel movement.
It is an incredibly frustrating experience which I only write about so that others with the same problems do not feel isolated. The human body is the most remarkable piece of machinery when it is working correctly but, the most complicated of organisms when it fails in some way.
The outcome of this situation is initially discomfort. You feel bloated because you are aware that you have a loaded bowel and are powerless to correct the problem. As the bowel continues to fill, the discomfort increases until finally the sheer pressure allows the excrement to exit. But, this allows only the initial stool to pass. You still cannot 'push' to facilitate a complete evacuation.
There are almost certainly greater dangers from infection if you are retaining fetid matter within the body for longer than necessary.
Most of us are unaware of how our bodies function, and most of us don’t need to understand the finer details of this anatomy.But because my body doesn’t work as designed, I research what is a fascinating and immense subject.
On a lighter note, while I experience the above described symptom, I have not experienced complete loss of bowel control which would be very messy and very embarrassing.