Two patients, a woman aged 75 and a man aged 63 years, developed faecal incontinence after low anterior resection. Their external sphincter function was intact. They were advised to irrigate their bowel with normal tap water and reached complete pseudocontinence. Faecal incontinence is not always due to sphincter dysfunction. One of the other causes of incontinence is the lack of compliance of the rectum, as seen in patients with a low anterior resection. The part of the colon that has replaced the original rectum is not able to distend in the same manner as the rectum. Irrigation of the colon is a simple means of allowing the patient to achieve pseudocontinence. When the colon is cleaned it will take one or two days before new faeces arrive and a risk for incontinence occurs. It is important to irrigate with safe tap water at a temperature of around 37 degrees C. Most patients treated in this way feel safe to go out again. The irrigation can be performed in patients without the need for extensive diagnostics. This method of irrigation can be used in other forms of faecal incontinence as well.
|Journal||Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Geneeskunde|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 2009|