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Let me lead off that my mom has fecal incontinence and just recently appears to be moving into mid stage dementia. We moved up to the thicker Tena pads last year (she doesn't like them).


I do my mom's laundry because she can't remember how my front loading washer/dryer works. Today she added a plastic grocery bag full of panties that were so soiled with human waste that I was not willing to put them in the same machines my family uses. Instead, I threw away about 8 of them. I haven't mentioned anything to her because she'd be embarrassed and even perhaps argumentative. More likely than not, she'll forget and I will be able to replace the underwear without her realizing it.


However, while it's almost as common as urinary incontinence, there really aren't any products specifically made fecal incontinence. Do any of you have experience with this and if so, are there any products you know of specifically designed for it? (Her MD doesn't believe the pull up style will work for her because of the fecal matter spreading.)

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Unfortunately, I have quite a bit of experience dealing with fecal incontinence caring for someone. I think it's time to stop using real underwear. She needs to use disposables. I don't see why your doc thinks that pull ups would spread poop. Just because you pull them up, doesn't mean you have to pull them down. They are built to tear at the waist so can be removed just like the tabbed ones. I only use tabbed ones since it's so much easier to get on. You don't have to take pants or shoes off. Much easier to do especially when not at home.

I don't know of any diapers that are designed for poop. I've often wished there was one with a little pouch for poop. Two things are key in my experience. Consistency of the poop and room to hold it. Don't put on diapers that are too small or too tight. I pick diapers and put them on so that there is room. Done right, there should be any leaking by leaving it a little loose. You still want the seals along the leg to be snug, but the bottom section to be roomy.

Consistency is key. I've found that I can make it go anywhere from liquid to rock hard by varying diet. There are pros and cons to all consistencies. Liquid is bad that it comes out constantly, it's good in that the diaper just soaks up most of it. Rock hard is good in that it only happens occasionally, it's bad in that it's so firm that it can deform and then it can't come all the way out. This is not a problem when the person con control when the go, but with incontinence it just happens whenever.

I found that the middle ground works best. Not too firm, not too soft. Pretty much like frozen yogurt. Firm enough that it's not leaking out constantly. Soft enough that it will deform and allow for passage into a roomy diaper. It makes every diaper change a poop change, but I find that better than having a dramatic hours long hard poop event.

Make sure you use plenty of A&D cream. Not to prevent diaper rash, that's just a great fringe benefit. But having a layer there makes the cleanup so much easier.
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What a fantastic response! Such a very practical explanation. I'm trying to be better prepared for when mum gets there. Thank you!
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Hi.... I TRULY understand what you're dealing with as I, too, have had fecal incontinence for the last 2-3 years (though I've had chronic diarrhea since 2004 due to a rare form of colitis). I am only 63 and I don't suffer from ANY form of dementia (yet, as my mom is currently in the moderate, trending to more severe Alzheimer's).

That having been said, I've been wearing the Depends, or the store brand (CVS) pull up "panties" in the HEAVY coverage. Mine CAN BE quite explosive, too, but it's actually rare when it's not been able to control what "comes out" and at least gives me "some" time to get to the bathroom to change them.

I HOPE that I've helped, if just a little bit, since they've been working for me. Oh, also, you can buy them in bulk (60, I believe) and at a MUCH lower overall cost via Amazon!
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My husband is in stage 5 Parkinson's. They generally have constipation, but he has fecal incontinence. We've gone to several different types of doctors and there hasn't seemed to be a good answer (for him). We have changed diets, now eating minimal just about everything (that previously we were taught to eat more of...) The best we have come up with is - I give him a half of an imodium each morning about a half hour before breakfast. It will at least 'firm it up' and give him half a chance to make it to the bathroom. With just half a tablet, it does not give him constipation.
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Wouldn’t it be better to have it out than keep it in?
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My SIL wore pull-ups and she had fecal incontinence. I don't know what brand. She passed last year so I cannot ask. I would suggest you either ask your Family Physician or his/her nurse to recommend brands. Depends will send you samples.

RE: the mess: For my DH, he used wash-cloths to clean himself and they also got rather nasty. I googled and found that you can make a "diaper pail" using dishwasher detergent for the soaking element and it worked great! Better than bleach!! The dishwasher detergents are designed to break-down food, and fecal matter is really just processed food.

I kept the bucket in my kitchen, on the counter, and there was absolutely no smell! I had a supply of the cheaper cascade pods and I dissolved one in hot water and it took care of the bucket I was using. It was similar in size to a 1-gallon ice cream bucket and held about a weeks worth of cloths. I had a long-handled spoon that I used to stir it up whenever I added wash-cloths.

I did this for about a year, until DH passed away.
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What did you soak in the pail? I am not clear.
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A visit to the neurologist yesterday showed that my husband's dementia, fecal incontinence and shuffling gait are all signs of hypocephalus - an enlargement of the ventricles in the brain due to too much fluid. Spinal tap and maybe a shunt implanted in the brain to redirect fluid could put him back in good shape, I'm reading. DEFINITELY worth looking into for your mum. My husband has been in decline for a couple three years (he's a 77 yr old now-ex triathlete) but it wasn't until the fecal incontinence started happening regularly that I brought it up to the dr. who pulled up his last MRI and saw just that - enlarged ventricles. We are due for a new series of tests, but there is the possibility he could be again be more like his old self. #keepingfingerscrossed #GREATdoctor.
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Sweetstuff Jan 2020
Jamison, fingers crossed for your husband. GOOD LUCK!
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Discuss with the doctor bowel issues, Does mom have diarrhea? Something must be causing it: food intolerances, infection, too much fiber...? Does mom not realize when she needs to go? Maybe she has a rectocele and needs a vaginal pessary. Adult diapers would be the easiest solution. Get pull-ups will tear away sides. There are some really pretty ones out there now days. Carry baby wipes.
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I agree with almost everything needtowashhair said except that runny poop soaks in, in my experience it just overflowed long before there was any absorption🤔.

That MD has probably never had any real life experience cleaning up after fecal incontinence - even if the pullup doesn't hold everything it's got to be better than pads, and does s/he think poop filled underwear are somehow easier to deal with?

One suggestion is to try to figure out when your mom tends to go and get her to the toilet before that, most people are surprisingly regular and tend to go shortly after eating. Even if this only works occasionally I always figured that one less clean up was worth it.
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My MIL has IBS. We use disposable underwear. I don't see how feces will spread any more than using pads. It will be important to clean her and change the underpants after an incident. There are pull up versions as well as ones designed more like baby diapers. We have recently started her on Align probiotics and boosted her fiber at breakfast and that has reduced the frequency of what we refer to as fecal emergencies.
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Loperimide is a anti diarrhea medication as is immodium. My husband who does not have any dementia but had rectal cancer, uses these medication before meals and when leaving the house. There is a cholesterol lowering product called Olestyr /Cholestyramine that firms up bowel movements (as a side effect) . He also uses Metamucil to stop runny feces, it seems to bind the poop.
As for pads and liners. He has found a long panty liner helps for when he involuntarily passes gas and leaks ( he tries never to do that but some escape if he bends over or ties shoes, gets out of car etc. ) you are right that fecal pads are not common and he hates pullups
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You might try a probiotic supplement like CoreBiotics, if she will swallow pills. Also
apple cider vinegar once a day instead, although it doesn't taste great. It's worth a little trouble getting her to swallow if it helps you do less work on the other end. Neither should hurt anything and might help. A lot. Good luck to you.
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I don’t understand your suggestion. Are you suggesting that apple cider vinegar stops fecal incontinence?
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